Denver residents Julie and Catalina Kerwin have spent plenty of time together wandering around Sloan’s Lake. The mother, daughter pair saw the wildlife like birds and geese living in an area that …
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Denver residents Julie and Catalina Kerwin have spent plenty of time together wandering around Sloan’s Lake. The mother, daughter pair saw the wildlife like birds and geese living in an area that was polluted with trash. They thought a cleanup of the park would be beneficial — but the only problem was they didn’t know how to go about organizing one.
After the two went through the Family Leadership Training Institute 20-week program last year, they gained the tools they needed to organize and complete their cleanup of the lake.
“My mom and I wouldn’t have done it without the Family Leadership Training Institute. It gave us the tools and confidence to complete the project, and we’ve seen the impact in our community,” said Catalina. Her and Julie plan to bring an education component of their cleanup effort to schools to teach children about the environmental impact trash has on the lake.
The Kerwins’ project was developed through the Family Leadership Training Institute, a program that gives adults and teens an opportunity to develop into civic leaders. Coordinated by Colorado State University Extension, participants in the Family Leadership Training Institute learn how to engage with local, regional, state and federal elected officials, how to advocate for issues, learn public speaking skills, how to work with the media and more.
Although the program is 20 weeks long, participants receive a free dinner when they meet for four hours each Wednesday night. The first 10 weeks of the program revolve around personal development and personal awareness. The last 10 weeks center around how to impact the community. People like mayors, school board members and county commissioners have gone to speak to program participants in the past.
Throughout the program, participants work on their own community project, similar to what the Kerwins did with the Sloan’s Lake cleanup. Family Leadership Training Institute instructors want the projects to be something that program participants are passionate about.
“(The Family Leadership Training Institute is) a great opportunity to be a part of a community that has an interest in making their community healthy, getting to know others who might have slightly different opinions, getting good experience with diversity and developing your own personal passion. We have a good time together,” said Kim Massey, the site coordinator for the Jefferson County Family Training Institute.
The Family Leadership Training Institute is free, and participants are offered childcare. The application to apply for the program can be found at JeffcoFLTI.com. Those who are interested must apply by Nov. 29. This will be the third time the Family Leadership Training Institute has been offered in Jefferson County.
“The diverse group of people that (the Family Leadership Training Institute) brings together is by far one of the biggest pluses. You become like a little family,” said Julie. “It’s a safe place for people to express how they feel.”
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