Eagle County’s Family Leadership Training Institute empowers residents to give back to the community | VailDaily.com

Eagle County’s Family Leadership Training Institute empowers residents to give back to the community

Fernando Almanza is a passionate community advocate, inspired to action by his participation in the Family Leadership Training Institute of Colorado.

"I feel I have something of value to give back to the community," Almanza said. "Usually people look at problems. This program teaches you to look for solutions."

FLTI is a community initiative between Colorado State University Extension, Eagle Childhood Partners, The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Health Foundation and community partners. The 20-week program offers a series of lessons about developing leadership skills, civic literacy and civic participation skills. FLTI is based on the premise that family members are the best advocates for children and families in communities.

During the course of the program, participants complete a community civic project and Almanza found inspiration for his project at work. For the past two years he has been employed at the Vail Dispatch Center and his FLTI project is titled "First Responders: Heroes in the Shadows."

His project description reads "As a 911 dispatcher my primary goal is to educate the community in what our duties, as telecommunicators, are. I will visit congregations, schools, community events, friends and family members and will give them the essential pieces of information needed when encountered with an emergency. I will make a PowerPoint presentation and will role play events as if it were a real emergency. I will provide the knowledge and experience to ease and prepare the mindset for solutions. We can not avoid disaster, but we can prepare to better handle those types of situations."

Almanza uses his bilingual abilities to give his presentation to both English and Spanish speakers and has delivered his program to more than 400 people

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"I am very excited about it. We all live here, we all shop her and we all need to give back to the community that gives to us," Almanza said.

"Fernado has become a leader in the Vail Communication Center — organizing tours, becoming part of the mobile unit." Glenda Wentworth, Eagle County Colorado State University Extension Director and FLTI Coordinator said.

That's exactly the outcome that FLTI wants.

Class of2018

CSU Extension is now accepting applications for its 2018 Eagle County FLTI class. It will mark the sixth year the program has been presented locally.

"We have had some great outcomes from the program," Wentworth said. "I personally keep being involved because of the relationships we form with people who want to make a change in their communities."

Each year the FLTI opportunity is offered to 25 participants who are screened and selected based on their availability and readiness to become effective change agents on behalf of children, youth and families. People with community leadership experience, as well as those beginning their journey of civic engagement, are invited to apply.

Selected participants will come together for an intensive training that includes:

A daylong retreat to develop group communication on Saturday, Jan. 6

Monday evening classes from Jan. 8 to June 4 that focus on knowledge about the change process, skill building and tools of civic engagement

A visit to the Colorado State Capitol on April 23 to meet with legislators and learn the inner workings of government

Ongoing support for the development and implementation of a Community Civic Project based on each participant's personal passion

Local graduation ceremonies on June 4 and FLTI certification upon successful completion of the 20 week course

Grant funding allows CSU Extension to offer scholarships for the full $2,500 cost of the program to all accepted applicants. In exchange, participants give the commitment of time reflected in class attendance and a personal community project.

Anyone interested in the FLTI program can apply online at fltiofcolorado.colostate.edu.

For more information about participating in the FLTI program, contact Glenda Wentworth at 970-328-8630 or at glenda.wentworth@eaglecounty.us. To schedule a First Responders: Heroes in the Shadows presentation, contact Fernando Almanza at 970-331-6085 or at falmanza@vailgov.com.