Living in a small town and working in the nonprofit industry, I often hear Eagle County’s youth complain that there are limited volunteer opportunities to engage our community. Besides skiing and snowboarding, many local high school students seek alternative activities that spur future career interest, inspire global awareness and contribute to the wellbeing of their neighbors.
Cassandra Armas, a recent graduate of Eagle Valley High School, has this approach to life and consistently makes the needs of others as a priority in her busy schedule. In addition to excelling in the classroom, Armas was a member of many Eagle Valley student clubs, including student government, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Cycle Effect, the band (piano and guitar) and the soccer team. A highlight of her student government tenure was their trip to Denver’s Ronald McDonald House and the Children’s Hospital.
“The experience taught me that volunteering comes in different ways. It can be cleaning a local park or talking to kids who are going through a rough time and making them forget about their illness for a little while,” she said.
She has been a student ambassador for the Youth Foundation and currently coaches their summer soccer program. She has also been a dedicated volunteer for the town of Eagle’s annual Cinco de Mayo festival and helps with the event’s student activities.
Armas has been an invaluable youth voice for Avon nonprofit the Eagle River Youth Coalition and serves on its Youth Leaders Council. These hand-selected high school students exemplify a strong commitment to supporting youth enrichment through service projects, leadership development and serving as advisers to nonprofits. During her time on the council, she advised Eagle County’s authorities on minor in possession policy and Eagle County Schools counseling staff on student safety protocol.
She was also on the planning committee for Eagle River Youth Coalition’s Get out and Live Drug Free Party. This was a fun and inspiring event in which 100 local youth gathered to celebrate life in a positive, community-enriching and substance-free manner.
When asked why she participates in these events, she said, “Serving the community is important because you get to meet new people and show appreciation for what is done around the community.”
Armas was awarded the Guardian Scholarship and will attend Colorado Mountain College in Spring Valley this fall. In her typical mindset of constantly seeking progression, she would like to eventually transfer to Colorado Mesa University and pursue a degree in physical therapy. We are fortunate to have Armas in our community.
Jason Peck is the project manager for the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit that offers and supports collaborative drug and alcohol prevention programs. The Youth Leaders Council is a program of the Eagle River Youth Coalition. The Eagle River Youth Coalition also offers parenting education for community members. For more information, call 970-949-9250 or visit www.eagleyouth.org.