Written by Lauryn Bradley & Chasity Gentry, CALC Youth Advisors
It’s been a year since I started working with my amazing team at CALC. This year, we have gone through a lot as a team, such as changing departments, losing and gaining wonderful team members, and even starting a youth collaborative. Through this journey, I have had the privilege of working with and getting to know so many amazing people, from our partners in CALC to our coworkers across the City and County of Denver. To commemorate my time with CALC and what I have done over the past year, I am going to share some of my highlights.
One of my favorite highlights include the Vision Zero Love-in event -- unlike any other. To give a quick overview, on February 14, 2020, transit lovers met at the 17th and Lawrence bus stop to take a ride together to the City and County Building. During the ride we had a transit flashmob for the driver and RTD riders to enjoy, with a rendition of the DSP-modified lyrics from “I’m A Believer” by The Monkees: “Then I saw The BUS, now I’m a believer!” The bus led to a short program about the importance of Vision Zero and hearing from people who ride the bus on what they streets mean to them.
The next highlight would be joining the PHPR (Public Health Parks and Recreation) Summit Collaborative team. Being on the planning team this year was a wonderful opportunity, especially with the theme being “For the Sake of Gen-Z.” As one of the youngest members on the committee and a part of Gen-Z myself, it was refreshing to see the collaboration between youth and adults during the summit itself and the planning process. Having the chance to see the session proposals submitted, and reading about the passion shared with the youth and adult professionals was astonishing. I was impressed by the high school youth to be able to put together a professional proposal about a topic they know so much about and want to share with adults attending the Summit. Allowing them a chance to be empowered leaders, building connections/networking, and leading to positive youth development.
The last highlight I want to share is our Montbello-focused events. As the Youth Advisor for the Montbello neighborhood, I joined local events such as Montbello Alive, the Montbello walking audit/community BBQ for the sidewalk expansion at I-70 and Peoria, and some of the planning for the Montbello bike course. These are just some of the events I was able to attend, and I had an absolute blast. The community members are so welcoming, kind, and passionate about what they do and the impacts any projects has on the Montbello area. I hope to be able to continue building connections in the community and bringing more events and opportunities to the youth of Montbello.
I have to say those are some of my top highlights, but nothing can be beat creating a youth collaborative with Chasity Gentry, our SW Denver Youth Advisor. We created the Future of Denver Youth Collaborative to help youth become more involved in their communities. We hope to push and support our team and members to be successful with all future endeavors, while striving to make youth engagement and outreach our top priority and to ensure that all youth and young adult's voices are heard. As we are still in the beginning stages of establishing group members and engaging in the virtual space, I hope we are able to build this group up more over the next year and create more opportunities to empower and develop Denver’s youth to be leaders seeking great opportunities.
For me personally and professionally, I hope to continue to build connections and network over the next year. I will take on more task and leadership roles that are offered to help me grow and better adapt to the professional world as I finish college. And to continue doing this work because I have been able to grow and develop more as a person. This job has given me so many opportunities that I wouldn't have been able to imagine and for that I am so grateful.
I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2020 has to offer, and the amazing work we are doing in Denver!
- Lauryn Bradley CALC Montbello Youth Advisor
One whole year with CALC, and what a year it has been! For starters, it has been a joy getting to know everyone of the CALC team members as well as our partners. Our team is passionate about teamwork and community, and it shows through all of the hard work and dedication each of our leaders puts in.
When I first found out I was being brought on as a Youth Advisor, I was excited for everything I was going to learn. I was still new to Denver and didn’t quite know my way around yet. The first thing I learned was how to navigate the city. I was just starting my second year at MSU Denver, so at least getting to the office was easy, especially if I had my bike. Honestly, the hard part was learning the different neighborhoods of Southwest Denver. I often left early to make sure I found the right venue on time. This past year has helped me learn how to get around the city of Denver and how to do it safely.
I have had the opportunity to learn about and serve communities based on their needs. We have partnered with communities all over the city to install intersection murals to help remind drivers to slow down and pay attention. We hosted and volunteered in trash clean-ups. We attended Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO) meetings and offered assistance to get the neighborhood more active. During the winter months we began doing a monthly event, Healthy Happy Hour, at local recreation centers. At the healthy happy hours we talked with youth and some of their parents about things they want to see in their neighborhoods, what they like to do to stay active, and even got to vote on the design of an intersection mural. We also assisted our partners with community events such as The Mid Autumn Festival, Colorado Classic, many different conferences and summits, and even participated in a flash mob to celebrate a new bus lane.
One of the more important things I learned this year was how to be a better teammate. Denver CALC works with a lot of other organizations throughout the city and I have learned to work alongside them. I have found we all have the same goal in mind; keeping our communities safe. Whether we are hosting or supporting an event, we are checking in on each other, offering breaks, and looking out for each other. As Youth Advisors, a majority of our work is supporting our team. At the beginning of 2020 Lauryn, our Montbello Youth Advisor, and I were given an opportunity to start a project, and our team came together to help us launch The Future of Denver Youth Collaborative.
Although this year has been packed full of experiences, my favorite so far has been partnering with Lauryn on The Future of Denver Youth Collaborative. Before joining CALC, I struggled to find something I enjoy doing everyday. Since starting with CALC, I have found my true passion. The youth collaborative is how I want to help others, find what they are passionate about. Even though we are still working on expanding our group, we want to ensure that youth voices are being heard and being supported.
This last year has taught me more than I could have even imagined. In this next year, I hope to continue learning more about Denver, and creating more partnerships. I look forward to more opportunities for professional growth, and getting back out in the community to continue making these neighborhoods safer and healthier. I am ready and excited for what the next year with CALC holds.
-Chasity Gentry, CALC Southwest Denver Youth Advisor