December 2008 Day of Service Partners

On December 13th, IGNITE students hit the streets for the December Day of Service, partnering with more than 2 dozen local nonprofits and providing more than 1000 hours of volunteer manpower.

Adams City High School
African Community Center
Project Cure
Rainbow Bridge
Denver Rescue Mission
Warren Village
Ronald McDonald House
Project Angel Heart
Jewish Community Center
Father Woody's
Meals on Wheels
Table Mountain Animal Shelter
Chuck's Kids
Food Share America
Samaritan House
Goodwill Industries
City of Brighton
Children's Hospital
Columbine Senior Home
Operation Christmas Child
Sister Carmen Center
Monarch High School
Longmont Humane Society
World Vision
Matthew's House

Mix and Mingle

Each month, our IGNITE students undertake a Challenge that is centered around one of our three core tenets: Leadership Development, Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. Some months, we incorporate all three - such as November.

On November 12 and 18th, students gathered at The Space Gallery in the Santa Fe Arts District and The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins respectively for an evening designed to explore professional etiquette, leadership in the workplace, and the value of building a strong network. We started the evening with a fantastic speaker from College in Colorado, who shared his story of NFL dreams that went unrealized, and the importance of academic excellence. Later, we were joined by dozens of volunteers from the Denver community, representing a wide-variety of professional fields, from medicine to finance, to non-profit management, to education, to entrepreneurship. You name it, we had it.

Students were asked to design a business card based on their future career goals, and spent the evening mixing and mingling with our professional volunteers, in hopes of connecting with like-minded folks who are just a bit further along their chosen career path, and could offer their experience and expertise.

Invariably, this is among the most popular Challenges of the year, and really demonstrates that the work we do is two-fold: We not only engage our students in the community, but we connect them with opportunity as well. Each year, there are a number of students who land jobs and internships as a direct result of a connection made at the business mixer, and even more whose eyes are opened to possibilities in the professional world that they never even knew existed.

LC Students In the News!

Peter Montoya was recently named the November Student of the Month at Adams City High School, where he is currently working hard on Advanced Placement classes, as well as college prep classes at Front Range Community College.

An alum of IGNITE, and current participant in Global Challenge, Peter has been a shining star in the Leader's Challenge family since the day we met him, giving new meaning to the term "high potential."

Peter is also enrolled in Talent Search through Colorado State University, which prepares him for college and provides him with in-state and out of state college campuses tours. Through his leadership skills, Peter has organized a youth group called Kids Helping Kids to support struggling teenagers and young adults.

Congratulations Peter!

Congratulations to our 2008 Daniels Fund Nominees!

One of the many benefits of participation in both IGNITE and Colorado Close Up, is the opportunity to be nominated for the prestigious Daniels Fund Scholarship. This competitive scholarship is designed to provide much needed funding to high potential students who might otherwise be unable to afford a college education, and differs from many other programs in that students must be nominated by a partner agency before they're eligible to apply.

Since 2000, the Daniels Fund has provided over 1500 students with this uniqe "unmet needs" scholarship, including about a dozen students who were nominated by Leader's Challenge.

We're happy to announce our 2008 Nominees!

Liz McMullin– Adams City High School
Cindy Marroquin– Arrupe Jesuit High School
Nestor Meza – Arrupe Jesuit High School
Mara Buhrmeister - Chaparral High School
Anais Webster – Colorado Academy
Joe O’Sullivan – Columbine High School
Ana Serpas – Denver North High School
Joanna Barbaran – Denver South High School
Mercy Rincon – Denver West High School
Elliot Jeffords – Fairview High School
Kayla Carriker – Fossil Ridge High School
Drew Dodi – Fossil Ridge High School
Rafael Orozco – Fossil Ridge High School
Ian Topoleski – Gateway High School
Angela Savino – Longmont High School
Owen Falk – Loveland High School
Morgan Kozin – Monarch High School
Paulina Zaragoza – Monarch High School
Cecilia – Peak to Peak Charter School
Brianna Rumley – Poudre High School
Aaryn Glassmeyer – Ranum High School
Daniel Fager – Ranum High School

From Colorado Close Up

Kristin Ozello – La Junta
Mike Corvasce– Widefield
Lacy Franks– Gilpin County
Breanne La Bonte– Grand Junction Youth City Council
Jason Specht – Plainview
Lauren Weber – Plainview
Kassi Witty – Salida
Cassy Mondragon – Buena Vista
Stephanie Schumann – Buena Vista
Chris Carr – Buena Vista
Hannah Pensack-Rinehart – Thompson Valley
Alex Sullivan – Thompson Valley
Bjorn Bolte – Castle View
Tifany Meadows – John Mall
Erika Ramirez – John Mall
Kristen David – John Mall

Congratulations to all, and best of luck in the application process!

Global Challenge Students Explore Refugee Resettlement

IGNITE students aren't the only ones who are kicking butt and taking names on a monthly basis as they face new and exciting challenges in their quest to be strong, successful leaders!

Global Challenge is our year-long program for high school seniors, designed to build upon the experiences students had in IGNITE as they explore leadership in a global context. Each month, 50+ students gather to discuss an issue with far reaching international implications and provide service around that issue. In September, our focus was Refugees, and we had the pleasure of hearing from Paul Stein, Director of Colorado's Refugee Services Program. Specifically, Paul addressed the United Nations' policy on refugee treatment, how asylees attain refugee status, and what the US does to help refugees when they immigrate to the States.

Since then, Global Challenge students have been out in full force, volunteering with two local organizations that serve refugees living in Colorado: Lutheran Family Services and Mercy Housing's Grace Apartments.

At LFS, students organized household items that will be put to good use by newly resettled refugees when they arrive in Denver, and heard from Anders Snyder about their efforts to help refugees with the very difficult task of integrating themselves in American society and culture.

At Grace Apartments, students had the opportunity to work directly with some of the 260 refugees who live there, specifically children. This service project was the beginning of what we hope will be a long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnership, as GC students are planning to visit once again on November 15th to work on a mural with the residents.

Here are some pictures of their time at Grace Apartments:

Rock the Report!

Challenge Reports are a major component of the IGNITE program, offering students the opportunity to reflect on al they've experienced as part of each monthly Challenge. These reports provide our program staff with valuable insight into whether students are absorbing the material and getting the most out of the program. Eventually, Challenge Reports end up in the portfolios that students receive at the end of the year, which are a great tool in college admissions interviews and scholarship applications.

Over the years, we've seen our fair share of less-than awesome Challenge Reports written by students who simply didn't put in enough time or effort necessary. However, we often receive reports from students who have gone above and beyond what's asked of them and understand that ultimately, the better their reports are, the better their portfolio will be, and therefore, the better the impression they'll leave on those who view it.

Kaity from Monarch High School is a perfect example of one such student. In September, students explored the role of media in society by visiting a local news media outlet, as well as attending a Challenge event in which media professionals discussed the importance of being a critical consumer of information, and provided a skills training on how to work directly with the media to gain coverage of an event.

For their Challenge Report, students were asked to write an article describing their experiences, and as you can see, Kaity set the bar pretty high!


Summer Academy Revisited

Ryan Findley, the most creative member of the Leader's Challenge team put together this amazing video of highlights from our IGNITE Summer Academies in July and August, and we thought we'd share it with all of you.

It's sometimes difficult to put into words exactly what we do and how we do it, and this video does a far better job of it than we ever could. Enjoy!

Access and Engage

Leader’s Challenge invites you to join them for the opening celebration of the DNC. Leader’s Challenge specifically designed the Access and Engage event so that professionals in the Denver area could be a part of history while enjoying great food, great entertainment, great drink, and great company – all for a good cause. The event takes place two blocks from what will be the center of the political universe next week and has been recognized by the DNC Host Committee as an official part of this year’s historic event. The event is also being covered by Dan Rather Reports as part of a special report on exclusive celebrations and parties happening around the DNC. Join special VIP guests including Matt Damon and Ben Affleck while listening to performances by the Railbenders and Something Underground. Hors d’ouevres, beer, and wine are provided by the best local restaurants and breweries. Special guests scheduled to speak at the event include Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Governor Bill Ritter, former Congressman Bob Beauprez, and Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco. Surprise appearances by other honorees of the Democratic National Convention are also possible. Tickets are $100 each and all proceeds benefit Leader’s Challenge, a nonprofit whose mission is to develop leadership skills and civic responsibility in Colorado youth.

Space is limited so buy your tickets now at