Youth Leader Spotlight - Rosa Vega

Posted on August 30, 2017

Eagle River Youth Coalition Persevering through the grind. Does this phrase have you gritting your teeth, anxious about your growing workload, or reminiscing about grinding through your last challenging yet beautiful mountain bike ride? For me, I am reminded of a determined and talented local student, Rosa Vega. Rosa recently began her journey of junior year at Eagle Valley High School and is building off of the positive momentum of exciting opportunities this past summer.

Rosa has always enjoyed reading and writing, and savors the time she gets to spend with family and friends. She admits middle school was challenging, and she endured some of the challenges that she now sees younger peers navigating such as bullying and emotional needs. In recent years, her extra-curricular schedule received boosts from local programs such as Cycle Effect and Upward Bound. Being in the saddle with her incredible Cycle Effect teammates and coaches has been a highlight of Rosa's high school career, yet this organization has exposed Rosa and other young women to much more than the rigor of cycling. "I love the confidence and empowerment I have gained through the Cycle Effect. My coaches have connected me with community leaders and helped prepare me for my future," Rosa describes. With a mission of empowering young women through mountain biking to achieve brighter futures and build stronger communities, it is no wonder that Rosa and her teammates have benefitted on and off the trail.

Upward Bound, a national TRIO program hosted locally through Colorado Mountain College has offered Rosa another step up. Coupling academic support with leadership development, college preparation and community engagement, Rosa has been a stand-out student in Upward Bound. As Heather O'Malley, Program Director for Upward Bound of Eagle and Lake Counties illustrates, "Rosa is a thoughtful, hard-working student committed not only to her academic work, but also to her family, friends, and community. She is always ready for a challenge and has a great sense of adventure."

Beyond the core components of these great youth development programs, Rosa has especially enjoyed serving her community. "We get to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity with Upward Bound, and help out with community events with Cycle Effect; giving back to others in the community while helping me build social skills and meet local leaders," Rosa recalls. Rosa's interest in getting involved in the community called her to apply as a Youth Advisor for the local Communities That Care (CTC) effort. Hosted by the Eagle River Youth Coalition, CTC aims to reduce youth health challenges such as substance use, violence, and delinquency through a research-based public health process. "Rosa is our newest Communities That Care Youth Advisor and we couldn't be more excited to have her positive energy and drive on our Community Board," shares Molly Hadley, CTC Coordinator. Molly continues, "She has lived in the valley her whole life and she wants to make a difference that will positively impact future Eagle County generations." Rosa is eager to represent the youth voice on a community initiative that will work to reduce risk factors and increase protection for youth in Eagle County.

The positive adult role models, increased self-esteem and interpersonal competence Rosa has recognized through each of these opportunities have been integral assets that have supported many aspects of Rosa's life. And how might she channel these feats into a future path? "I am interested in joining the Marines, or entering the medical field as a pediatric doctor, anesthesiologist, or surgeon," Rosa explains. Rosa Vega inspires me not only as a stellar example of a future leader, but as a young person paving the way for her peers and neighbors as a leader today.

Michelle Stecher is the executive director at the Eagle River Youth Coalition (ERYC), a local nonprofit organization that offers and supports collaborative prevention programs and services. ERYC tackles three main areas that affect the development of teens and adolescent youth including: substance abuse prevention, emotional wellness & mental health promotion and academic achievement. In addition to supporting the health and well-being of local young people, ERYC offers various levels of parenting education and trainings for community members. For more information, call 970-949-9250 or visit

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Eagle River Youth Coalition - Making Youth a Community Priority
Physical Address: 34520 US Highway 6, C10 | Edwards, CO 81632
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 4613 | Edwards, CO 81632
Phone: 970.949.9250 |
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