Community, leadership and inspiration all shone brightly at this year’s annual boys2MEN Leadership Summit, a unique collaboration between CU Boulder and the non-profit Crowley Foundation that offered Denver and Aurora high school students the chance to preview campus life while also learning about core values including family, scholarship and integrity.
At the end of the weeklong event highlighted by educational seminars and fun team-building activities, Zykiear Mosely-Long, a senior at Hinkley High School, summed up the emotion and enthusiasm that came with the experience.
“It’s a family and we’re trying to bring each other up,” said Mosely-Long. “The main thing that I like is the relationships that you build with people in your community that you didn’t even know were in your community. You start looking at other people as friends.”
Now in its third year, the boys2MEN summit—which is sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE)—aims to motivate young men and build their confidence so they can apply to colleges and excel in their studies.
During their time on campus, the 26 students participated in leadership seminars, group activities and meet-and-greet sessions with CU Boulder alumni and faculty who’ve become successful in fields such as banking and IT. Hearing these powerful stories shared firsthand by those who had lived them created an energy in the room and a sense of bonding among the young men about to forge their own college and career pathways.
Kenneth Crowley Sr., founder and executive director of the Crowley Foundation, said the event helps to further the organization’s efforts to bring diversity to higher education institutions and was pleased to continue his partnership with CU Boulder.
“It’s amazing, I love it. [The faculty and staff] show us nothing but support, nothing but love,” said Crowley. “They really go above and beyond to make sure me and my team and my guys are extremely comfortable.”
Crowley added that CU Boulder offers valuable support systems like the Miramontes Arts & Sciences Program (MASP), which help connect underrepresented and first-generation students with current students.
“The Crowley Foundation brings tremendous energy to our campus,” said Assistant Vice Chancellor David Aragon of ODECE. “This partnership is central to the community engagement aspect of our mission. By hosting the boys2MEN summit, we are strengthening ties with important communities in Denver and Aurora.”
Aragon added that the focus on core values such as integrity and scholarship helps inform students who might question whether CU Boulder—or any higher education institution—is a fit for them.
Erasmo Medina, a junior at Bishop Machebeuf Catholic High School, agreed the program had made him more informed and had encouraged him to look forward to future pursuits. He came away enthusiastic about college and said he now plans to pursue journalism in the future.
“Nobody can hold me down,” said Medina. “I feel I have a voice. I can pursue that voice through writing.”
The summit closed with a series of powerful and inspirational speeches by the students themselves, reflecting on what they had learned. By the end of the week, one thing was clear: A group of young men who may have started as strangers had become a close-knit community, more determined to succeed than ever before.
For more information on the Crowley Foundation and the boys2MEN Leadership Summit, visit the foundation's website. For more information about upcoming ODECE programs and events in 2017, visit their website.