About Us!

How Colorado 9to25 Works

Welcome to CO9to25.org, Colorado’s clearinghouse for ‘all things adolescent health.’ This site has been developed to provide resources and information on a variety of youth-related topics, while also connecting statewide initiatives that promote the health and well-being of all Colorado youth between the ages of 9 and 25.

This youth system-building effort aims to ensure that:

  1. All youth are safe.
  2. All youth are physically and mentally healthy.
  3. All youth receive a quality education.
  4. All youth are connected to caring adults, school and their communities.
  5. All youth are contributing to their community (e.g. volunteering, working).
Youth make transitions through pre-, early, middle and late stages of adolescence, and each stage brings with it a new set of physical, mental and emotional challenges. While most youth successfully navigate this transition, a significant proportion takes unhealthy or dangerous risks and initiates habits that may lead to chronic illnesses in adulthood. Please share your feedback with us by clicking here.
Colorado 9to25 is a collective, action-oriented group of Colorado youth and adults working in partnership to align efforts and achieve positive outcomes for all youth, ages 9-25, so they can reach their full potential.
Reaching Our Full Potential - Infographic

Reaching Our Full Potential – Infographic

Learn more about Colorado 9to25 by downloading these documents!

Who We Are

unnamed (49)

Audra Bishop

Title, Organization: Youth Health Specialist, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
On a big scale, it is amazing to witness young people make changes to big things, like policies and the way in which adults do business, that ultimately have an impact on ALL of Colorado’s youth.  From a personal standpoint, it is indescribable to watch a young person, who may be doubted by most people in their life, give themselves permission to acknowledge their dreams and come to not only realize what they are passionate about and the great things that they are capable of, but then begin to take action and actually BECOME what they’ve once imagined was impossible.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
For so many reasons, but here are my top 3:

  • they make coming to work much more fun and creative.
  • working alongside young people helps me grow….allowing me to see things differently and think in ways that I wouldn’t have done without their vision and ideas.
  • Finally, the outcomes we get to are usually far beyond what I would have imagined if I was working on my own.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
Hmmm…why does this seem so impossibly long ago?!?!  I’m not sure if it was necessarily my favorite, but 18 was probably my most memorable year.  It was 1995 and I had just graduated high school as an extremely shy and insecure young woman.  Because I wanted to get out of the town I was in, I took a summer job at Crater Lake National Park.  As I drove myself down there, and was in the final stretches of entering where I would spend my summer, I remember saying out loud to myself “I will be different here”.  Because I knew no one, I was able to be the person that I wanted to be and in turn “showed up” as a strong, confident, social butterfly.  This, at first fake confidence (fake it til you make it, right?), led me on lots of adventures that summer, including going skydiving and getting my tongue pierced…things I would have never experienced as the introvert that I previously spent 18 years being.

 

José Esquibel, director of the Colorado Prevention Leadership Council, receives his Ready by 21 award from Forum CEO Karen Pittman.

José Esquibel 

Title, Organization:  Director, Interagency Prevention Systems for Children and Youth/Office of Children, Youth and Families/Colorado Department of Human Services

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Helping youth explore their potential and learning more about them and myself in the process.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
Adults have as much to learn from youth as youth do from adults. Youth-adult partnerships result in more relevant and exciting ideas and strategies for helping youth reach their full potential.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
In the summer of 1976, I was 18 years old and had the opportunity to travel out of the U.S. as a part of group of youth and adults. We traveled by bus and train to Guatemala to help with recovery efforts of a region of the country devastated by a major earthquake. I spent three months working with others to assist in the reconstruction of houses and buildings of small villages in high mountain areas. I learned new skills from the adults and I worked side by side with humble Guatemalan villagers. The experience was critical in the development of my values as an adult. On the downside, I watched scenes in which military personal came into villages and towns and simply picked up older boys and young men from off the streets, presumably as involuntary recruits into the national army. My three months in Guatemala, living in a tent and working on recovery efforts, was a life changing experience for me. It was a mix of hard work, times for fun, and a solid dose of the harsh reality of poverty and political oppression in a country ruled by a military regime.

 

Mike Johnson

Title, Organization:  Executive Director, Project PAVE

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Youth provide a different and positive way of viewing how we can challenge our communities and society.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
Youth provide an approach for adult of really looking at the “issues”. They are structural and institutional. Youth see this and while they have great ideas they need adult involvement and we adults need to clearly be ­inspired to do our own work of transformation.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
Middle/high school because so much is coming into question and there is a willingness to create change.

unnamed

Nkem Nwankwo

Title, Organization: Youth Advisor, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Colorado youth as all youth when given the opportunity are the most lively creative, awe inspiring problem solvers. It is amazing what happens when you get them in a room to discuss solutions and community improvement. As always they are always really cool, laid back, and easy to relate with. So its hard not to enjoy their company and their partnership.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
Too often and too quickly youth and adult forget that their success is dependent on one another and also that at one point in time we have all experienced joys and hardship in its varying form. When youth and Adults partner with one another it resembles a gathering of vast expertise which of course works to efficiently create, improve and maintain change.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
I loved when I was 18, I felt that the world was in the palm of my hand and all in it were for my taking. That mindset still hasn’t changed but now I am beginning to realize that the taking of all the world has to offer takers quite the  time and effort.

Sam Wood

Samuel Wood

Title, Organization: Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Programs Special Projects Coordinator, Youth Engagement

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
The youth leaders I work with motivate me to be a better person, teach me interpersonal and communication skills and finally set the bar inspire me as a leader and an artist.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
Solutions to community issues that work and are sustainable can only be discovered when all voices are honored. Youth are community resources that must be cultivated. They are not problems that need to be fixed

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
Junior High. I rode my horse Bijoux every day along the banks of the Shari River. Racing across the hot sand, I felt pure freedom.

Katherine Harvey

Title, Organization: Youth Advisor, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
I love being able to talk with my peers about our dreams, visions, and concerns for the future. Young people tend to be more open and creative with our ideas, and I love that authenticity that bubbles up in groups of young people. We also have the drive and energy to accomplish so much when we are connected with the right opportunities, so working with my fellow youth adds a special vibrancy to projects.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
I was lucky enough to develop relationships with adult staff members at a youth-serving organization in high school. Their mentorship and support has been very influential for me; one of the biggest components was their treatment of me as an equal. I was given so many opportunities, like helping interview new staff members and planning events, and having the trust of adults to do those things has been huge.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
So far it’s been 19; it was a year of change and growth that included flying to New Zealand and backpacking by myself for several months, and then coming back home and reassessing what I want to do with my life.

 

Luis Guzman

Title, Organization: Deputy Director for Office of Children, Youth and Families (CDHS)

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Creating better outcomes for youth is the only way I know that absolutely and definitively ensures we all have a better future… nothing ensures a better world like making sure our future leaders start out as educated, strong, and emotionally and physically healthy youth.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
his is where we walk-the-walk instead of just talking the talk… it allows us to give voice to youth, incorporate their energy and creativity in our work, and build their capacity to be strong leaders for their families, communities and nation.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
When I was 24 years old I finished school and spent a month backpacking through Asia… I’ve had the travel bug ever since and try to travel as much as possible.  Seeing the world at a relatively young age was a great gift and constantly informs my personal and professional life.

Becca Bolden

Title, Organization: Director of Grants Management, Colorado Youth Matter

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Having grown up in Colorado, I love being able to work to improve the same systems I grew up in and feel like I’m making an impact for a community I care so much about.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
Youth-adult partnerships make a huge impact on organizations that work to impact young people by putting their perspective in the forefront. I’m excited to be part of a system that is making youth-adult partnerships a necessity for this work.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
My favorite age was 17. At that age I had just returned from my first experience volunteering abroad and was beginning to think about life after high school. It was the first year I really began to own my confidence in who I was and advocate for what I wanted in life.

Pearl Bell

Title, Organization: Youth Development Specialist,  Colorado Department of Human Services

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Young people keep me young, I appreciate their expertise in technology, trends and energy for life. They remind me to have fun and learning everyday.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
We need to work together to create real change,  that means considering new ideas and perspectives, or revisiting old ones if needed.  Young people have that fresh lens that helps you look at things differently or consider out-of-the-box thinking.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
Early 20’s: finding my independence, searching for my direction, and celebrating life everyday.

1 comment on “About Us!”

  1. Tommy Larson Reply

    Do you have a chapter in Northwest Colorado? We care for adults with disabilities and are always looking for volunteers to do fun things.

    Tommy Larson
    (970) 879-4466 x 115

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *