Two Graduate Students Receive the 2016 Children, Youth and Environment Award

Published: May 20, 2016

CYE Award Winners AnnouncedCU Engage is pleased to announce that two CU Boulder graduate students, Mónica Gonzalez and Danielle Garrison, have been selected to receive the 2016 Children, Youth and Environment Award.

Mónica Gonzalez, a doctoral student in Literacy Studies, will use the award to support her project with youth at a local migrant community learning center, where she has worked with immigrant and migrant youth since 2013. The project, entitled "Youth Leadership and Activism Collective," meets once a week and focuses on challenging rigid notions of leadership and engaging youth in critical conversations about the intersections of race, gender, class, citizenship and eduation.

Gonzalez explains:

This summer, these young people and I will be collaborating in a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) project that collects testimonios, narratives of marginalization, to document the histories and knowledge of [their broader im/migrant] community. Students will analyze these testimonios to make visible and potentially address the sociopolitical issues being faced and navigated by their peers, family, and community members. The primary goal of this YPAR project is to foreground family and community knowledge and narratives as a way to think about literacy within im/migrant communities while centralizing the inquiry and research process in young people’s knowledge, experiences, and expertise. Over a six-week period, 8 young people from the collective will conduct interviews or semi-structured group conversations with each other as peers and with family. The youth will identify issues they would specifically like to learn more about and create interview protocols that focus on those topics. Young people will record, transcribe, and analyze all data. Analysis of the data will consist of identifying themes that surface from the testimonios and determine findings to present to the community. While I imagine students presenting their work and making suggestions for how to engage in sociopolitical action at a community forum, the young people will ultimately decide how they would like to showcase their findings and recommendations for social change.

For her project, Danielle Garrison will be using the CYE Award to support her outreach ballet program in with elementary school children in Denver. Garrison, a CU Boulder MFA Dance Candidate in the Arerial Dance Track, is an Aerialist, Dancer, Choreographer and Teacher. Her program will pair students from Johnson Elementary School in Denver -- where 97 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch and where funding for afterschool dance classes is nil -- with senior citizens living at the nearby Parkview Care Center.

Garrison explains:

Each ballet student will be paired up with a Parkview resident to hear a story about a challenge that the elderly person overcame in their life. Then each student will create their own dance that tells the story of this hardship, and the overcoming of that challenge, experienced by their elderly friend. Ideally, the students will find connections between the elders’ stories and their own, creating a piece that dialogues a multi-generational connection. In conclusion, the ballet students will perform their pieces for the community. The pieces will include physical and/or audial storytelling by the students and elders, giving the youth multiple platforms for voice.

CU Engage would like to thank all of this year's applicants to the CYE Award. We had a very strong pool of applicants.

Due to insufficient funding CU Engage is not able to administer this award in 2017.