Letter: Caring adults for great kids

I was delighted to read the article titled “Tough times inspire Mauricio Sosa to pursue Basalt Peace Garden” the other day (The Aspen Times, Dec. 19). What a terrific young man Mauricio is, and what a fantastic example of leadership and initiative he has shown with this project. Of course, I am no stranger to Mauricio. I have been getting to know him through a program that I am lucky enough to teach here in the Roaring Fork Valley. You see, I work for the nonprofit YouthEntity in Carbondale as its ProStart instructor. YouthEntity serves students from third grade through their high school years and provides them with an amazing array of programs covering financial literacy, career exploration in which students work directly with local mentors, and culinary arts, baking and pastry arts programs. What I can tell you through my experiences with YouthEntity is that the nonprofit has called upon many outstanding local professionals to take active roles in helping our local youth not only to engage in their communities but to begin exploring some of the big questions that high schoolers need to be able to answer. Working directly with students like Mauricio, we are able to provide a safe environment where like-minded students can learn new skills, try on new roles and develop essential traits such as reliability, dependability, conscientiousness and being able to work well within a team dynamic.

Carrying many distasteful memories from my own formative years dealing with bullies, I can attest to the importance of having somewhere to go where there are adults who care and listen and where there are peers who don’t judge. I am constantly reminded of how lucky we all are to live in such a kind place. Mauricio is a perfect example of how much heart this valley has.

For more information about how you can get involved in YouthEntity, please visit or call 970-963-4055.

Matt Maier