Congratulations to Tyler Lee and Jorge Lomas, CYCA Corpsmembers of the Year!
The awards were given out February 2, 2015 at the Colorado State Capitol. Representing Youth Corps across Colorado, 10 young people received awards for their contributions to conservation last year.
Tyler Lee is a 19-year-old AmeriCorps alumni who embodies the values of the Corps, as well as the spirit of Colorado. He served his first term with Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC)-Southern Front Range in 2013, between high school and his first year at Western Colorado State University. His outstanding performance earned him a mentor position the following summer. His first challenge in that role came on his very first day. During chainsaw training he noticed a fellow Corpsmember struggling with reservations about her own abilities. Tyler, having already successfully completed his felling evaluation, used his knowledge in solution-focused inquiry methods to coach his colleague, and as a result, she successfully completed the critical training.
Tyler is pursuing a double major in environment and sustainability, and recreation and outdoor education, along with a minor in biology. His educational pursuits are supported by an impressive total of $2,936 in AmeriCorps Education Awards. He now has career ambitions in the field of wilderness management. When he’s not in school, Tyler still takes every opportunity to climb another mountain.
Tyler initially joined MHYC as a way to work outside, but he returned for another term because he valued the experience and wanted to try his hand as a mentor: “The mountains were calling and I was simply answering the call.”
Jorge Lomas is a first-generation American who spent much of his childhood in Mexico. When he was 12, he moved permanently to Denver. When Jorge began his first AmeriCorps term at Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) in May 2013, he did not think he would finish: the work was technical, physically demanding, and like nothing he had ever done. But his family had taught him to never give up. So he stuck with it and gained confidence in his abilities. His first success was being certified to use a chainsaw. His next success was a positive mid-term evaluation. Those around him saw his accomplishments and over time, with each small success, Jorge started to see them as well.
As Jorge’s confidence grew, so did his leadership skills. Each season he took on greater responsibility. When he returned for his third term in 2014, he was tasked with being a peer leader to the new members of his crew. It was the first time in his life that he was given a leadership role. Again, he rose to the challenge and by mid-season he was a strong role model for all crew members.
Jorge’s experiences with MHYC have helped him build a career path through service. Prior to arriving at MHYC, Jorge had never been presented with an opportunity in which “my direct input would be influential to those around me. MHYC gave me the chance to use my voice and realize my leadership potential. My AmeriCorps scholarships will help continue furthering my education. I am currently finishing my Associate of Arts degree at the Community College of Denver. I plan to enroll in a four-year college next fall and complete a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics.”
Beyond his college degree, Jorge plans on using his AmeriCorps Education Awards to complete a North American Outdoor Leadership School Wilderness Medicine and Rescue course and obtain a Wilderness First Responder certification.
Personal stories reprinted from CYCA’s Facebook page.