The Family Leadership Training Institute Celebrates 14 New Graduates

Eagle County Family Leadership Training Institute recently graduated.
Eagle County FLTI/Courtesy Photo

The Family Leadership Training Institute of Eagle County recently graduated its class of 2021-22. Fourteen community members completed 20 weeks of diverse leadership training designed to empower residents to create a better world for the children of our county.

In total, the program has graduated 144 people since County Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney brought the training institute to Eagle County in 2013. During the 120-hour program, participants learn from dozens of community leaders in a wide variety of fields, from state and county government officials, to non-profit and health organizations, to members of the media.

From October to April, each of the participants worked on individual community projects that represent a service they want to provide or a change they want to see in the community. In each weekly session, participants learned a different set of skills that would help them bring their community project to life, such as public speaking, learning about community structure and governance, analyzing statistical trends affecting families and more.

Participants spent 20 weeks learning skills that will help them implement their individual community projects.
Eagle County FLTI/Courtesy Photo

“I thought that to be a leader you had to be at the political level or work for an organization, but at FLTI, since the first session, I was able to internalize and feel more comfortable saying that I am a leader families in this community, and my project will impact families and the future of our young creative minds,” said graduate Dani Rodriquez.

Now at the end of the program, Eagle County has gained 14 trained leaders, each with a distinct vision for improving the county and the tools to implement it. Site coordinator Glenda Wentworth has led the program in Eagle County since 2016 and said the real gratification comes from seeing the impact graduates have in the community after leaving the institute.

“I’m really proud of their accomplishments and their drive for their community projects that they are so passionate about and where it could take them on their journey,” Wentworth said. “It’s fun to see them years later in their journey as a leader and the positive impact on who we are as a community as a whole.”

Participants learn from dozens of community leaders in a wide variety of fields.
Eagle County FLTI/Courtesy Photo

2021-22 Community Project Highlights

Sandy Schroeder: You have the IDEA

Graduate Sandy Schroeder is working to design a series of 12 workshops that will connect parents of children with disabilities, while teaching them how to develop an education plan for their child who is informed by the Education Act. Education of Persons with Disabilities (IDEA).

“I have a child with Down syndrome and we moved to the Valley almost 12 years ago,” Schroeder said. “During this time, I have met many parents who have personal angst, frustration and celebration for their own children with different abilities. These are better understood by others in a similar situation. I found that these parents would also benefit from a better understanding of what IDEA contains and how the process works.”

Schroeder plans to launch the program in August and said anyone interested in getting involved or learning more about the project can contact her at [email protected].

Tsvetelina Fuentes: the stories we tell

Alumnus Tsvetelina Fuentes, Mountain Youth Mobilizer and Manager, creates a video series that highlights the stories and experiences of different community members to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Fuentes herself speaks multiple languages ​​and is originally from Eastern Europe, and said her intention for the series was to use it as both an education and training tool to promote DCI principles in the valley.

“I have always been an advocate for diversity and the enrichment it brings to personal and professional development,” Fuentes said. “This project is about hearing from members of our own community and telling their personal stories in order to let our common humanity shine through. Our local organizations are encouraged to include this resource in their training opportunities as it is local, authentic and based on oral tradition. It also provides a framework for practicing and exploring DEI concepts with staff members.

Fuentes posted the first video in the series – the story of Dani, a community member from Chile’s Eagle County – on May 5. The video can be viewed at under the name of the series “The stories we tell”. She plans to produce more videos in the coming months and encourages anyone interested in the storytelling project or learning more about DEI practices to contact her at [email protected].

Lenka Sage: Turtle Straw

Graduate Lenka Sage is the owner of Lenka’s Place art studio in Eagle. In her project, Sage plans to use her artistic skills to help educate valley youth about the dangers of single-use plastics by building a turtle sculpture out of plastic straws with elementary school students.

“It will be a visible reminder of what plastic is doing to our planet,” Sage said. “Children will share their knowledge with family and friends, and I believe that with this ripple effect, we can change one small habit, one human at a time.”

Sage said she plans to start her project with students from Eagle Valley Elementary School next year.

Dani Rodriguez: Free Your Reading

Graduate Dani Rodriguez’s goal is to open up new and innovative ways for parents to engage in reading with their children.

“As an ECE (Early Childhood Education) teacher’s assistant, I observed that parents did not read to their children – not because they did not want to, but sometimes because the material was in English, so they saw the language as a barrier,” Rodriguez said. . “I once said to a mum, ‘What if you forgot the words on the page and just described the colors and the designs?’ I saw a sense of relief in his eyes that I will never forget.

Through his “Free Your Reading” project, Rodriguez wants to give parents who may be reluctant to read to their children the freedom to be creative with their storytelling, helping them overcome the frustration of a language barrier while giving space to incorporate their own stories and values ​​into the experience.

“I want to give caregivers the opportunity to practice telling a story: describing images, creating a new version if they wish, and focusing on the goal of planting the seed to foster interest in the reading,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez is in touch with the Parent Mentoring Program and Early Years Partners of YouthPower365 to help bring his program into the community. Those interested in the project can contact her at [email protected].

Additional projects

Miguel Angel Aguirre: healthy parenting

“My goal is to re-educate parents to break the cycle of old patterns and beliefs in order to raise resilient children.”

Jisela Crus: Connect the Eagle

“My inspiration came from moving here to Eagle County from the San Luis Valley a year ago, and what it takes to fit in and connect. My idea is to start a Facebook group where the community can come together to post, promote, share and connect with each other and work together/collaborate and feel more connected and involved in their community.

Cameron Dole: Youth Leadership Training Institute

“My goal is to increase opportunities for young people to learn leadership skills and thrive in a group of their peers while using these acquired post-secondary skills to increase their involvement in community and life situations. real.

Delia Felis: TEENS (Todos Estamos Estudiando Nuestra Salud mental)

“My project focuses on the mental health of young adults. With TEENS, young adults will be able to express themselves through drawing and/or writing.

Jenny Hetei: Let’s be honest

“My goal is to educate eighth graders entering high school about the dangers of marijuana. Marijuana is a hallucinogenic drug and can trigger certain mental health disorders, especially in young people genetically predisposed to schizophrenia and/or or bipolar disorder.

Rene Martinez: Empowering Families Through Computer-Based Learning

“My project aims to empower families through computer-based learning in a family interaction environment.”

Kaitlyn McGovern: Managing stress for success

“This workshop will explore the impacts of chronic stress on a person’s overall health. Simple tools and practices will be offered to help individuals and families learn to cope with and positively manage the stressors in their lives. »

Grace Meinberg: Corner of Kindness

“A simple act of kindness can have a significant impact, and together we can make Eagle County a happier, healthier place to live. Volunteers from our community will be stationed around the corner or at the entrance of the premises frequently visited to share and spread kindness to our locals and visitors.

Luz Alejandra Pedroza Parra: Getting an Opportunity

“My primary objective is to create a support group where professionals from other countries can share the difficulties they have encountered in obtaining jobs related to their trades and find solutions together.”

Claudia Quintana: Empowering Young Bilingual Minds

“My project is to find and/or create opportunities to publish the work of my bilingual students in Eagle County. My mission is to empower students to use their bilingual identity and raise community awareness of the importance of being bilingual in the 20th century.

For more information about the Eagle County Family Leadership Training Institute, contact Glenda Wentworth at [email protected] and follow the association’s Facebook page.

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