Eagle River Youth Coalition’s Youth Spotlight for April: Cloe Vega
The end of the school year is such an exciting time of completing classes, developing important skills and strengthening friendships. It’s also a time to start planning for the future and to look at what the summer, the next school year and life beyond high school brings.
For one youth in particular, it’s a time to attend school events, wrap up club projects and look for ways to make a lasting impact on the community. Cloe Vega is a sophomore at Eagle Valley High School, has lived in the Eagle River Valley her entire life and has been fortunate to have supportive parents.
Vega is an instrumental part of the Devils Against Destructive Decisions Group at Eagle Valley High School. This group is focused on creating a school climate that promotes positive youth behaviors.
At a club fair during her freshman year at Eagle Valley, Vega was drawn to the DADD table by the candy selection but more truly motivated to join this group because she saw an opportunity to help others have a better and more fulfilling high school experience by staying away from drugs and alcohol or even wearing a seatbelt; she realized she could use her talents to help others. Vega has taken a leadership role with this group, and has sought other leadership opportunities through ERYC’s Youth Leaders Council. Through these efforts, Vega has learned that there’s always a way to get involved to help others.
Volunteering for great causes
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Vega has been a huge support in the EVHS Safe Driving Fair and ERYC’s Family Jam & Summer Plan community resource event. She spends the rest of her free time watching independent movies, reading obscure literature, traveling and spending time with her horse. She is an English rider and has been riding for years now. The group at the barn where she keeps her horse organizes volunteer opportunities at the Mountain Valley Horse Rescue. Vega enjoys these opportunities, although it breaks her heart to know that not all horses have had a good life.
One of her favorite volunteer experiences has been the Vail Dance Festival because she was able to see the festival through the lens of a dancer. Vega supports her peers and attends the EVHS film festival or spring musical so that they know their efforts are appreciated. She is pretty shy and doesn’t enjoy initiating conversation, but once you get to know her, you recognize that she’s all heart. She hopes her kindness can rub off on her peers and that they will be motivated to volunteer and seek opportunities to help others.
Vega has aspirations to go to college in the Pacific Northwest and study medicine. Her great grandparents, who studied molecular biology and obstetrics, have helped to inspire her. The Pacific Northwest excites Vega because of its accepting culture. Before she leaves, Vega is hoping she can positively influence her peers to see beyond the differences of others to become an accepting community.
A big issue Vega has witnessed here is that people have become verbally careless, not recognizing that their word choices have deep histories and meanings and can negatively impact those who hear them. It’s important for all of us to be aware that not only do our actions have meaning, but more importantly, that our words have meaning — and sometimes deep meanings — and we need to choose our words wisely.
When asked what words Vega would choose to share with the community, she said, “Life is so much easier when you don’t feel you have to criticize everyone and the things they do.”
Vega believes that in order to do this, it’s important to be nice to everyone and to help them out and let them help you in return.
“It’s humbling to realize my services are needed by other people and that they can help me, too,” she said.
Vega is a remarkable and bright young woman who I believe will have a big, lasting impact on our community before she graduates in 2019.
Mikayla Curtis is the Eagle River Youth Coalition’s manager of strategic impact.