Summit puts focus on youths |

Summit puts focus on youths

Aspen Times Staff Report

In an effort to improve communication between valley youths and the older set, several local organizations have organized a Youth Summit tonight in Aspen.

The summit is scheduled for 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Given Institute of the University of Colorado, at 100 East Francis St. Organizers include a host of local concerns and agencies, including the Aspen Buddy Program, Pitkin County Health and Human Services, Aspen Valley Hospital, the Chipeta Girl Scouts Western Slope Council, The Aspen Times and others.

The free event is open to the public, drawing participation from area families, youth organizations, schools and businesses, among others.

The summit was in part spawned by the statewide program, “Assets for Youth Colorado,” which was founded three years ago by the Colorado Trust, a nonprofit institute that has been working with a child development-model developed by Dr. Peter Benson.

Benson, who two years ago spoke locally about his “40 Assets” model of child development, will be the keynote speaker tonight.

The summit will also include workshops on topics such as building self-esteem and social skills, creativity, youth volunteerism, spirituality and “a sense of purpose,” diversity and tolerance, and the 40 assets, all conducted by experts from around the region.

“This is a very positive model,” said Mary Ellen Sheridan of the Buddy Program. “If we can get the community excited in a positive way, rather than focusing on kids’ problems and shortcomings, that would be a very marvelous outcome.”

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