As a professional photographer, graphic and multimedia artist, I have served children, junior youth and youth in Northern Colorado for over 10 years. In that time, learning through hands-on experience in the Ruhi Institute process community-building activities served as a catalyst to form Cultivating Capacities, GSO (grassroots support organization) in 2015, a nonprofit organization that empowers people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures to develop capabilities and skills through knowledge, volition and action. Work in the field of Baha’i-inspired social and economic development led to the discovery of Transformative Leadership, Developing the Hidden Dimension by Anello, Hernandez and Khadem in 2017. It was then that support, accompaniment and collaboration began with Joan Hernandez, co-author of Transformative Leadership, Developing the Hidden Dimension to bring Transformative Leadership to the youth and community of Northern Colorado.
Currently, I live in Severance, Colorado with my husband Kevin and our four teenagers (two girls and two boys). Throughout the years, we have hosted community building activities such as classes for children, junior youth, and youth. I hold the conviction that youth are the change the world wants to see. And, as a mother of four teenagers, and an artist and community member, I am committed to empowering youth through Transformative Leadership which provides not only a new model of service-oriented leadership but sets a foundation for cultivating a new conceptual framework founded in transformative learning. The Transformative Leadership for Youth: Cultivating Capabilities for Change seminar invites youth to “serve as instruments of beauty and progress” through the dual processes of personal and social transformation, and to be “agents of change” that contribute to building an ever-advancing world civilization founded on unity, justice and peace.
Prior to Covid-19 closing communities around the world, Transformative Leadership for Youth workshops were facilitated in Northern Colorado junior youth and youth groups. The dynamic nature of the Transformative Leadership material resonated with people of all ages and backgrounds, and cultivated interfaith relationships as well as social action community projects. In 2019 and 2020, Transformative Leadership for Youth seminars were integrated with a photography and multimedia art workshop called Being the Change through the Lens. These seminars served youth 11-17 years in Compass Community Collaborative School in Fort Collins, Colorado. Experience empowering youth in the Transformative Leadership for Youth seminars led to the development of online seminars with Wilmette Institute in March 2020 as the youth of the world faced school and community closures.
It is an honor and gift to learn, serve, and celebrate beauty and knowledge alongside youth from all backgrounds. It is through the innate society-building powers of youth that we will illumine the world with the light of unity and justice.