Each year, AYO plans a family engagement event in which youth, their families, and even their mentors, are able to come together and enjoy a fun time before the holiday season. We had a really wonderful time going back to Denver Botanic Gardens for their Blossoms of Light event for the second year in a row. Denver Botanic Gardens and their foundation Go2Gardens sponsored 54 youth, family members, mentors and AYO staff to attend via a luxury charter bus! We definitely got into the holiday spirit and had a good time with new and old friends. Thank you to everyone who joined us!
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Over the last few months, Aurora Youth Options partnered with Art from Ashes, an art and poetry curriculum workshop that focuses on symbolism, metaphor and storytelling to engage and encourage youth empowerment. The 3-step workshop process utilizes expression, connection, and transformation to help youth move past their own limitations to discover hope, humanity and self-determination through the power of words. Each workshop highlighted a guest poet and different types of poetry expression.
On October 10th, the young men of our Male Group Mentoring (MGM) program had some friendly competition on the basketball court as they faced off against officers from the Aurora Police Department (APD). The Male Group Mentoring Basketball clinic was an opportunity to bridge the gap between APD and youth within the community by hosting fun, engaging activities that provides a common ground for all participants.
Since early this summer, AYO’s Mentor Team has been hard at work creating a fantastic new opportunity for our mentors! AYO works with students from all walks of life, and many come to us with unique experiences and mental health challenges. Our mentors care deeply about their mentee’s well-being and constantly seek support from AYO’s mentor specialists.
This was an absolutely amazing opportunity for our youth to understand what sustainability looks like and how they can contribute to their communities. We learned about how those before our time had to live in the 1800’s and the privilege that we have today surrounding more opportunities and just appreciating those before us.
AYO students had a great time at Star-K Ranch and the Quincy Reservoir! Our WILD leaders taught the youth all about the ecosystem of different areas of the Morrison Nature Center and how animals and plants worked with each other to maintain a healthy natural enviroment. Students also got the opportunity to go fishing at the Quincy reservoir. It was a 98* degree day at high noon, so "experts" said it was highly unlikely we would catch anything. BUT NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE! Despite the odds, one of the youth caught an 18-inch sea bass, which was a proud moment for her and the whole group!
The youth had an incredible time and are now First-Aid Responders and certified in both CPR and First Aid. They learned how to do chest compressions and breathing to wound packing and responding in emergency situations. Chris Zaleski who was the instructor of this training was well versed and knowledgeable about how to respond to the youth. Thank you Chris!
Summer has begun! AYO had an adventurous (and hot!) day exploring Red Rocks Amphitheater and Dinosaur Ridge!
AYO was lucky enough to have THREE bright and eager-to-learn high school interns this year! The second semester brought us Melody Conde and Jordan Williams, both juniors who have interests in pursuing health-related professions. These young ladies brought a lot of new ideas and unique perspectives that have helped us improve some of our programming. They were both passionate about supporting their respective communities and assisted AYO's efforts by sharing their youth voice.