Eagle River Youth Coalition spotlights Evan Fitzcharles for month of August | VailDaily.com

Eagle River Youth Coalition spotlights Evan Fitzcharles for month of August

Denise Kipp
Special to the Daily

Those who know Evan Fitzcharles would likely describe him as intelligent and kind. Not only is Evan No. 3 in his graduating class and a National AP Scholar, he also finds time to volunteer as a Communities That Care youth representative and served on Youth Leaders Council in the 2017-2018 school year.

To top it all off, Fitzcharles has taken the initiative, along with other community members, to change policy on purchasing tobacco products in the town of Avon. This Tobacco 21 Initiative would change the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Fitzcharles has been involved in the first year of Communities That Care, a state-funded process that uses prevention science to promote healthy youth development. Evan has been honored and empowered to be able to provide honest insight into the challenges that face our local youth.

Communities that care

He is very appreciative of the fact that the youth voice was incredibly respected by local leaders and law enforcement agencies in the community throughout the Communities That Care process. The mix of other youth involved in Communities That Care was really great because each of them came from different perspectives and backgrounds. Fitzcharles is proud of the accomplishments of Communities That Care and is eager to see the outcome of the work over the next few years.

Fitzcharles' absolute greatest passion is music; he started playing the piano at the age of 5. He is an accomplished pianist and striving for a piano performance degree from the University of Kansas while studying pre-medicine: no easy task. He hopes to perform, teach and perhaps have the opportunity to travel the world at the same time.

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Music, for Fitzcharles, is what transforms him, providing space for him to appreciate the complexity and dynamic sounds that are created with various instruments. He has had the opportunity to perform piano several times in Kansas City at a senior center to an audience of more than 100 guests.

Most recently, Fitzcharles competed in a concerto competition in Estes Park against 20 other musicians, coming in third place. He looks forward to participating in the Chicago Music Festival in August, along with his new teacher, and hopes to connect with world-renowned musicians at the Festival.

Prior to leaving for the University of Kansas, Fitzcharles hopes to see a change come to the town of Avon because of the work of several community partners supporting a small group of youth in their endeavors to change the law.

"The move aims to protect the health of young people by making tobacco products less accessible," he said.

Fitzcharles recently learned that after raising the legal sales age to 21 in a small town in Massachusetts, they noticed a sharp drop in teen smoking. He feels that this policy could bring similar cuts in youth initiation and overall vaping rates and hopes that other towns in Eagle County may follow suit. I truly believe our community is a better place because of Fitzcharles.

Denise Kipp is the prevention manager at the Eagle River Youth Coalition. The Eagle River Youth Coalition tackles three main areas that affect the development of teens and adolescent youth, including substance-abuse prevention, emotional wellness and mental health promotion and academic achievement. In addition to positive youth development, the organization offers various levels of parenting education and training for community members. For more information, call 970-949-9250 or visit http://www.eagleyouth.org.

Do you want to recognize an outstanding youth?

At Valley Tastings, the Eagle River Youth Coalition’s premier fundraiser, youth who make a difference will receive an award — but the organization needs community input. Click on the “Youth Awards: Nominate Here” box at http://eagleyouth.org to nominate a local student; students are welcome to nominate their peers, as well. Nominations are due Friday, Aug. 10, and the Valley Tastings event is Saturday, Sept. 15.