This spring, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver collaborated with RISE and the Denver Broncos to provide teen Club members an opportunity to learn about being leaders in diversity and inclusion within their communities. The eight-week RISE leadership program provides youth with a safe environment to learn about diversity and inclusion-related concepts and what it means to be champions of change in their community for the sake of improving race relations and addressing social injustices.
“Addressing racism requires education and intentional action, all of which starts with having honest and often times difficult conversations about issues of race, diversity and inclusivity,” said Dr. Andrew Mac Intosh, RISE Chief Program Officer. “Unfortunately, racism still affects daily life, whether you are a person of color or not, and for youth especially, it is critical they have a safe space to engage on these topics. Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver has been an incredible, committed partner, helping us to equip their teen members with the tools to have these difficult conversations. Ultimately, we hope this program empowers youth to be leaders for advancing equity and inclusion in their schools and their communities, which can then help lead to broader social change.”
This program is unique because it gives our teen Club members a platform to reflect upon and highlight their experiences, and share their perspectives on critical topics related to race, diversity, and inclusion. Some of their thoughts and contributions were amplified through posts made on Broncos social media and shared by RISE and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, as well as through RISE’s podcast, Champions of Change.
Weekly sessions facilitated by RISE were held in April and May and covered important topics like identity, equality vs. equity, Native American legacy in sports, and privilege.
Broncos safety Justin Simmons was an active and engaged participant in each session, and Club members Naja’ray and Nashara returned to the program for a second year to act as peer mentors for this year’s cohort. Justin, Nashara, and Ray Ray also worked together to organize the second annual March for Peace this April. Their investment in their community epitomizes the impact of this program.
"My biggest takeaway was being comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations," shared Nashara.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver is thrilled to continue this partnership with RISE and the Denver Broncos, equipping Club members with the tools to be effective advocates for racial equity and leaders in addressing racism, prejudice, diversity, and inclusion within their communities.