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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Pueblo Recognizes Youth for Youth Violence Awareness Week

YMCA gives face paintings on Healthy Kids Day. Photo provided by Brandon Samora.

By Cidonia Ponce

Pueblo helped bring awareness to the community about youth violence. Many organizations and nonprofits came together for the last week of April to help recognize youth and discuss the resources available for youth.

National Youth Violence Protection Week (NYVPW) was founded in 2001 by the Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Promise Club. This week challenges individuals to partake in a non-violence initiative to help create healthy, positive role models while promoting safer schools and communities. 

Pueblo’s Rocky Mountain Service Employment and Redevelopment (RMSER) Empowerment Center celebrated youth through their “Dia De Los Niños Children’s Day” event on Saturday, April 29. This event allowed kids to engage in productive and informational activities surrounding youth. RMSER provided entertainment through music, dancing, face paintings, food, and resourceful vendors.

Brandi Adakai is the Community Center Director at RMSER and has been very involved in the Pueblo community by providing the needed resources. “We want to bring awareness to children and those who experience child abuse,” Adakai stated. Many organizations from the city and local community members came together to celebrate children in the gymnasium at RMSER on 330 Lake Avenue. 

Many of these organizations that came to this event were dance performer groups, including Jeannie’s Academy of Dance, Haven’s School of Dance, Grupo Folklorico, and a mariachi singer Velma Segura has been participating in events with RMSER for the past year. More organizations included the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Pueblo Rocks, Center for Health Project, and Protectors of Abused Children (PAC). EPIC of Pueblo also provided complimentary books to the youth, while RMSER offered free children’s clothing and adult and maternity clothes for women. 

Not only were these resources offered at the RMSER Dia De Los Niños event, but there was also a space that offered nutritious but delicious food. “The food was locally sourced, we used Rodeo’s meat market as well as Double J’s meat market for our chorizo and carne asada,” Adakai mentioned. RMSER’s new mission is food access for all, meaning there is a need and advantage to having access to local food. “It is so important that we introduce healthy food to our community members, and they need to be able to have access to that food at a low cost,” Adakai stated. 

The YMCA of Pueblo also hosted an event tailored to the youth called “Healthy Kids Day.” This event was free to the public and provided a variety of family-friendly activities, including sports games, face painting, obstacle courses, a bounce house, and much more. The YMCA also had many other local organizations, including Smile Doctors Orthodontics, Pueblo Parks and Recreation, Health Solutions, and the Pueblo City-County Library District. 

Karen Foglesong is the Program and Outreach Specialist at the Lamb Library here in town and spoke on what she believes the Pueblo youth can take away from events like Healthy Kids Day. “We hope that this engages the Pueblo youth in something that is constructive for their growth and their benefit,” Folgesong commented.

Kevin Cano is an alumnus of CSU Pueblo and the current Director of Marketing and Digital Media for the YMCA of Pueblo. Cano was one of the hosts for this event and commented on the perks of having events like this in the community. “It’s really great to have these free events for families in the community because anyone and everyone can come and check out the YMCA and see all the events and resources that we have to offer,” Cano mentioned.

While considering the youth when it comes to youth awareness week, Cano talked about the importance of acknowledging and engaging with our youth. “It’s very important that youth know that pro-social locations exist in the community so they can learn positive habits at a early age,” Cano stated. 

Cano also mentioned that because children are most likely to develop habits and behavioral traits early, youth should engage in healthier habits now to carry them on throughout their lives. “The YMCA fits into this because we want to make sure that this is a safe haven for all to feel welcome to develop their spirit, mind, and body,” Cano commented. 

For more information about the YMCA, events, and other resources, visit puebloymca.org. 

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