Friday, June 19, 2015

Families graduate from innovative civic leadership training

Today, 118 family and youth leaders across Colorado graduate from the Family Leadership Training Institute, a family civics program that helps youth and adults become effective leaders in their communities.
These emerging leaders completed a 20-week course that includes personal and child development, leadership training, and civic literacy and participation skills. Graduates are from Aurora, Centennial, Cortez, Denver, Edwards, Fort Collins/Loveland, Grand Junction and Lamar. Graduates span all levels of income, age, gender and ethnicity. 
Using their new collaboration, forecasting and budgeting skills, each graduate developed a project to benefit his or her community, including:
  • In Denver, 15-year-old Ruby developed a sibling support group. Ruby has a sister with autism and wants to help other siblings get the attention and support they need.
  • In Lamar, Jessica is developing the Coalition of Developmental Services, to help parents better understand the critical stages of development in young children.
  • In Grand Junction, Caroline, a mother of six, has a vision for a comprehensive recreation center. Her goal is to open a facility that offers infant care, before- and after-school programs, camps, community events and classes.
“Family leaders know what their local communities need to support the health and wellness of children and youth,” said Eileen Forlenza, family and community engagement specialist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Through the Family Leadership Training Institute, they become leaders who also bring cultural diversity and meaningful experience to solving community challenges.”
The institute helps these individuals become leaders in their communities and local governments by providing tools they need to address health and social policy issues. The institute teaches participants the tenets of democracy, their rights as citizens and how to engage in the civic process for the benefit of their families, schools and communities.

About the Family Leadership Institute
The Family Leadership Training Institute has graduated more than 500 family leaders since it began in 2009 and is now offered in 10 communities across Colorado, including three that provide classes in Spanish. The institute is a partnership of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado State University Extension and the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Early Childhood. Local partners include school districts, early childhood councils and developmental disability groups. The institute’s innovative approach has produced positive results regardless of rural or urban setting and has been replicated in Wyoming. For more information, visit

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