Youth Spotlight: Mentors can help students with positive support, encouragement
Olivia Soukup moved to Eagle County when she was a sophomore in high school and began attending Vail Christian High School. She is currently a student at the University of Denver studying psychology and socio-legal studies. You can feel Olivia’s positive energy and enthusiasm that she brings to her daily life from the moment you meet her. She has the passion, drive, and determination to help others around her.
Olivia’s priority is helping children. Herding young campers at Camp Cordy and engaging children as a nanny have kept Olivia involved with the local landscape. Traveling abroad, Olivia helped teach English in Thailand and served at an orphanage in Mexico. With goals of becoming a child psychologist, she believes that future generations are being shaped now. Social media is so prevalent in today’s society and a lot of unfortunate things can come from it, yet offering youth the tools to develop coping skills, friendships and self-confidence is a top priority for Olivia. She wants to be able to help give them the resources they need to succeed.
Olivia created a mentoring program at Vail Christian to provide positive support to freshmen and sophomores. She helped to develop the program where juniors and seniors were matched with younger students to help foster positive relationships and guide on a positive path. It can be easier to get through struggles when you have the support of someone who has been through it themselves.
Olivia is an avid runner, loves hiking, skiing and driving around to watch sunsets — she takes every opportunity she can to be in the mountains. She believes that mountains provide a beautiful reflection of ourselves. These activities bring her joy while keeping her mental health in check. She is determined to help others with their mental health. That is why Olivia reached out to Sandy Schroder, Mountain Youth’s director of community engagement back in February seeking an internship opportunity.
Olivia is one of the leaders of PowerThru, a group created in the midst of COVID-19 for students and adults alike who are struggling with school and life during the quarantine. PowerThru provides mental health tips, information on jobs and volunteer opportunities, inspiration for myriad activities while you are quarantined, and even fun competitions. Its mission is to help create connections during COVID. Olivia encourages others to follow PowerThruEagleCounty because “people are struggling with mental health during isolation and it can be hard to form connections at home,” she said. “This platform provides connections and interaction when it seems abnormal.” PowerThru initiatives have included book reviews, live yoga sessions, workout challenges, and a Q-and-A with an Eagle Valley Behavioral Health therapist. These opportunities help the group reach its goal of connecting people with one another and reassuring people that they are not alone.
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Olivia intended to help lead PowerThru to support others, not realizing the significant impact it would have on her. She loves that PowerThru provides resources that can be hard for people to uncover on their own. PowerThru brings the community together in a time of separation. PowerThru aims to continue providing resources during our recovery from this epidemic.
Olivia loves this valley because of the people that create such an amazing community. She feels that Eagle County offers and environment surrounded by so many people that care for each other. That is why she wants to make a difference, even if it is in the slightest way.
Make sure that you follow PowerTHru on Instagram @PowerThruEagleCounty and check out their blog at https://powerthruus.blogspot.com/?m=1.