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For more information on our brilliant presenters, please visit our Speakers Page.

Thursday, November 3


The registration desk opens at 8:45am. Come early to check in, meet other attendees, and enjoy a delicious breakfast and specialty coffee drinks. 

Please be sure to arrive prior to 9:15am, as the program will begin promptly!


We are back in person after many years. Join us, and the amazing Diana Cutaia, from Coaching Peace, as we build community, set intentions, and unite before an amazing day of learning and collaboration.


Sadie Butler, Program Manager of Community Mentoring, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Colorado

BIPOC Mentors United is a Big Brothers Big Sisters affinity group that provides a safe space where Black and Brown Littles, Bigs, staff, and community members can have rap sessions, educational lessons, training, and support. BMU focuses on providing youth in BBBS programs with more access to role models and social capital, in addition to their 1-on-1 mentoring relationship already supported by the agency. Attendees will learn why creating affinity spaces for youth is so important and how it is impactful, how you can utilize your organization’s network to create a robust community of people that can contribute to your affinity spaces, and where to start on creating your own version of BIPOC Mentors United.

Natalie Baddour, Co-Founder, Fully Liberated Youth

Keen Cano, Assistant Director of School-Based Intervention Services, Fully Liberated Youth

Diversity, equity, inclusion, trauma-informed, and restorative justice are trendy topics non-profits, schools, and businesses are implementing, but are these organizations just checking boxes or embodying those very principles? Through this training, we hope to move you and your organization from cognitive understanding of the aforementioned principles, to embodying them in your professional and personal lives. We will be analyzing this movement towards deep equity on a micro-level (in mentoring relationships) and on a macro-level (organizationally/systemically). Finally, hear how this movement has directly impacted a former young person.

Attendees will walk away knowing:

  • How to move from trauma-informed to being healing-centered
  • How to move from a punitive and hierarchical posture to embodying true restoration
  • How to move from cultural understanding to embodying cultural humility

Vicki Scott, Program Manager, Aurora Youth Options at Aurora Mental Health Center

Community Call to Action – Back to School Buddy program was developed by AYO to respond to increased violence in the community, specifically High Schools in (Aurora Central and Hinkley) north Aurora. The AYO team reviewed demographics of the recent rise in violence and designed a community-wide plan to support youth with the idea “It Take a Village” Hearing the anxiety and apprehensions surrounding the impending return to school the program emerged. Initially, the idea of mentors was promising, however, connecting youth with long-term mentors would have limited the reach. Mentor National has shared evidence that mentoring is not necessarily only effective with long-term relations and that episodic experiences are equally meaningful for both youth and adults. With dosage not being the focus; the idea of short-term mentors resulted in a “BUDDY” supporting youth with encouragement, a listening ear, friendship, and hope. In addition, adults learned about AUMC programming and could encourage engagement with groups and personal support, reducing stigma and when able easing access. To reduce potential anxiety, support youth with adult partners to offer encouragement, friendship and a listening ear. Adults were provided with resources to gain understanding of expectations


Participants will come away with understanding of

  • How and why programs should be nimble while foundations are maintained
  • How to assess your community needs
  • How to locate resources to support needs
  • What and how to advertise and engage community for the need
  • Demonstrate appropriate follow-up and evaluation

We will provide boxed lunches for participants. You can spend this time with your peers, enjoying the outdoor space, or learning more about the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC) from the MENTOR team!


Greg Mirelez, Homeless and Migrant Youth Advocate, Adams 12 Five Star Schools

Lisle Reed, Whole Child Initiatives Coordinator, Adams 12 Five Star Schools

This interactive presentation will examine the implementation of an effective mentorship program in a large school district. Participants will hear about the design and development, successes, challenges, and lessons learned. This presentation will also include the voices of mentors and mentees as they describe their experiences with the program. At the end of the presentation, participants will be able to describe the key components of an effective mentorship program and leave equipped to begin a conversation about mentorship in their school or district.

Michel Holien, Director of Dissemination, Fostering Healthy Futures at CU Anschutz

Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) is a evidence-based mentoring program for youth with current or previous child welfare involvement. Program outcomes include better mental health functioning, greater living permanency, and lower rates of delinquency and juvenile justice involvement.

This workshop will review FHF’s practices in training mentors to:

  1. Support youth in setting goals in the I REACH domains: Identity development, Relationships, Education, Activity involvement, Career development, and Health
  2. Practice intentional mentoring in which visits include interactive activities to support the development of key adolescent skills, including emotion regulation, problem solving and healthy communication.

Shalelia Dillard, Founder, SCD Enrichment Program

SCD Enrichment Program’s Mentor Catalyst Program allows college-aged mentors to receive critical mentor support in order to increase retention and the success of the mentors in the program. The mentors in our program support our middle and high school students, however, they are college students themselves so we make sure that they have all the tools that they need in order to be successful in college. his process allows for our mentors, who are just out of high school, to develop the necessary skills to be more equipped for their lives during and after college. Providing mentors with this program catapults their futures to success to create generational wealth and the skills needed in order to be more impactful to our students and their own lives.


Dedrick Sims, CEO, Sims-Fayola Foundation

Mentoring has received considerable attention as an effective intervention for helping Black male students overcome numerous barriers at universities and colleges (Herder, 2021). In particular, D. J. Davis (2009) asserts an effective mentor is supportive, knowledgeable, and understanding of the mentees’ needs as well as a potential remedy to the Black boys’ education crisis because it rests in creating a relationship with a mentor influential enough to encourage the mentee to give their best efforts in the classroom and develop a positive academic identity. Mentoring also helps with self-confidence, attitudes toward school, and academic achievement (Watson, 2012). Brown (2009) says mentoring can significantly impact Black male students because it can ensure their safe passage and celebrate their ascension to manhood through ritual and ceremony, fellowship, and membership. Mentors can bring multiple assets to a mentee’s life, including increased educational commitment (Townsel, 1997).

Mentoring is part of the Afrocentric approach, although, as we will see in this workshop, it is different in focus and values.This workshop introduces the Afrocentric Framework of the Nguzo Saba Principles as a guide for developing and implementing mentoring programs for young men and boys of color. Participants will leave with an implementation framework and a rubric to guide and measure implementation.

Tucker Wannamaker – Thrive Impact

The Awakening Conscious Leadership experience, created by THRIVE IMPACT, neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Friedland, and the XCHANGE approach, leverages scientific research on navigating change, tapping our creative capacity, and even how we can unlock collective intelligence – through a facilitated peer to peer interaction. It will provide real-life tools and approaches you need to be a better, more impactful leader and mentor. The work is rooted in neuroscience, explaining how our brains process situations and a pathway to self-improvement through understanding what drives us.

Michelle Petix, Founder, Spitfire Project Based Consulting, LLC

Restorative Practice is a proven strategy for building and repairing relationships. This is such a relevant and impactful subject matter for mentoring, youth development, and organizational impact during these divisive times.

This session will provide attendees with:

The What: The philosophy of Restorative Practice

The Why: The research based frameworks on why this is important and impactful when working with youth

The When & Where: The practical applications across multiple sectors: mentoring relationships, organizations, post trauma debriefing, schools, and justice systems AND your personal life.

The How: The majority of the session will focus on giving participants the tools and small group discussion and practice.


After an incredible day of learning and connection, join fellow attendees and MENTOR Colorado staff for a relaxed evening of networking, dancing to the beats of a local young DJ, libations and s’mores around the firepit! 

Friday, November 4


Enjoy a delicious breakfast and specialty coffee drinks.


Diana Cutaia, Coaching Peace

How do we create systems where our team members can show up authentically and mirror that for the young people we serve? Join Diana Cutaia as she interactively explores these themes through the lens of attendees.


Ericka Porter, DUVLI Facilitator, MENTOR Colorado Technical Assistance Provider

With the growing need for deeper collaboration and partnership with community organizations and schools/districts, to better serve students and their families, this workshop is designed to equip participants with tips, tools and strategies on how to initiate, cultivate, and maintain mutually effective and authentic partnerships with schools and/or school districts. In addition to tools and strategies, there will be interactive work-time to develop actionable steps for immediate implementation.

Diana Cutaia, Founder, Coaching Peace

Join us for this interactive workshop to discuss play and its value to mentorship, leadership, and connection. While learning some engaging , new activities we will explore the essential ingredients that make up the valuable tool know as play. Come prepared to move!

Vernon Jones, Executive Partner, FaithBridge

Across my twenty years of working in education, mentoring has been poorly positioned as intervention for “problem” children rather than a priority need for all children. If we want a world that aligns with our highest aspirations and hopes, we have shift mindsets so that quality mentoring is prioritized and resourced for all children.


Erica Castro, Joyful Spaces Manager, Joy as Resistance

This session will focus on sharing research conducted with Queer and Trans youth of color in the Denver metro area. We will explore and hear directly from youth who share the assets and challenges faced by this community in the last couple of years. This will provide an opportunity to hear about topics like toxic masculinity, white supremacy, and stigma in seeking mental health support and engage in community discussion about ways to support.

Elizabeth Arrieta, Student, LEAP Member

Cara Nord, Youth Empowerment Attorney, Office of the Child’s Representative

OCR’s Engaging and Empowering Youth Initiative aims to provide children/youth a voice in legal systems through effective attorney services and advocacy and to ensure that child/youth voice and interests are paramount in the development of policy, law, and practice. The Initiative’s first action step is to support attorneys’ application of the youth-centered requirements in Chief Justice Directive 04-06. Its second action step is to collect randomized feedback from youth with D&N and delinquency cases and use such feedback in attorney evaluations and in the development of law, policy, and practice. In furtherance of this second action step, OCR has collected youth surveys and conducted youth focus groups.

Angela Govig, Senior Team Lead, Denver Public Schools

BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth are two of our nation’s most underserved and at-risk populations. College View Elementary in Denver, CO has taken the initiative to begin their own mentoring program to provide BIPOC and LGBTQ+ arts and professional mentors to provide a positive identity and positive possibilities and networking for their future.

This session will profile the latest research on Black and LGBTQ youth, description of the school’s program, and opportunities for participants to assess ways they can use local and national artists to create enhancements and updates to their programming.