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CMC to host Latino Youth Summit

Eben Harrell
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus will be abuzz with approximately 300 Latino high school students Tuesday during the second annual Roaring Fork Latino Youth Summit.

The summit, entitled “Leadership and Understanding,” is a collaborative project of the RE-1 School District, the Stepstone Center, La Mision newspaper and Colorado Mountain College.

The event was founded last year to remember Basalt High School student Dayan Diaz, who committed suicide in 2002. At the time of her death, Diaz was a teen mother to a baby boy.



CMC’s Marian Velasquez Schmahl said the daylong event will address issues important to Latino youth.

“Through their participation in the summit, we’re giving these students tools and resources to deal with and improve their lives.”




The event will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will combine educational and recreational activities. Workshops will be presented by a host of local organizations, including seminars on health care and STD awareness, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy and child development, domestic violence, suicide prevention and immigrant education.

Recreational activities will include a career fair, salsa and hip-hop dancing, and “trust” activities such as scaling CMC’s climbing wall with a partner.

Students will also construct a mural. The Carbondale Clay Center will help arrange and connect tiles to be installed at Basalt High.

The summit’s itinerary was drafted using student feedback from last year’s event.

Most of the activities will be conducted in Spanish, a decision Walter Gallacher, dean of student access and success at CMC, said reflects the summit’s commitment to honoring Hispanic culture.

“This event is particularly important to the valley given the huge rise in the local immigrant population,” he said. “We want to show these students that they can retain their culture and still be successful. These young people can be the new leaders.”

Volunteers for the Latino Youth Summit are still needed. Contact Aide Arana at 947-8503 for more information.

Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com