Volume 50 | December 2022

Monthly News and Updates

The African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) wants to stay connected with you! Enjoy interesting facts, educational information, highlights and upcoming events. Have a question or comment? Please contact us at info@aaylc-co.org.

Did You Know?

It’s no secret that those who receive a gift feel a sense of gratitude. However, did you know the giver can feel it as well? Not only is gift-giving a common way to express gratitude but also watching the receiver’s reaction elicits that same appreciation. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude boosts positive emotions, improves health, and contributes to overall greater happiness. Source

Executive Director's Corner

As we near the end of 2022, we’re approaching a time where I hope that you will all be able to gather with your family and friends to celebrate the season in a way that is meaningful to you.  

While we commemorate the joyous days with the giving of gifts, we need to remember that giving is not just about packages and presents. It is about giving with your heart, your time, and your love. Remember there are those who continue to struggle in our community; whether they lack the money to provide a meal and gifts for their family, or they do not have anyone at all to share their holiday. 

An uplifting word, a genuine smile, asking about someone’s day, a small random act of kindness are all things each of us can do. 

In keeping with the spirit of the season, I reflect on the giving our organization provides to students, families, and the community. I want to express my pride and gratitude to those I work with …the people who make the mission and values of the AAYLC a reality. I want to be sure to express the same pride and gratitude to the communities we serve, and our loyal volunteers, sponsors, and partners that sustain us in so many ways. Along with our Board and Leadership team, I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a Blessed Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year. May these days be filled with joy, peace and hope for the New Year! Happy holidays. 



Shantelle Bridges

Executive Director


The Power of Giving and Receiving: Which One Is Better?

You have probably heard the familiar adage, "It is better to give than to receive." It would be difficult to find someone who would say otherwise. The act of giving elicits positive feelings and emotions for both the giver and the receiver, making it one of the most important exchanges you can have with someone.

Read More

Student of the Month - Sylvar Lowe

Whether it is art, music, theatre, or taekwondo, this Widefield High School freshman oozes creativity and natural talent! Sylvar Lowe has flourished in her transition to high school. She has a passion for art, specifically painting with watercolors, and finds this to be a very therapeutic activity. Some of her art has even been showcased in her school district art show! Although she played the trumpet in middle school, she has decided to pick up percussion instruments this year. Sylvar has shown so much natural talent that after only two days of practicing on her own, she has been accepted onto the winter drumline!

Learn more about this exceptional student

Matters of the Mind - Giving & Receiving

This month’s topic of Matters of the Mind is all about the mental health benefits behind the actions of giving and receiving and the love languages that characterize them.  

December is a time for many that is painted by increased time with loved ones, compassion, and giving to one another. We call this “Neighboring behavior” which refers to the interactions between each other in the community. However, there are many social scientists and researchers who suggest that family, work, and community are connected and influence these other areas in our lives producing positive benefits for our mental health. 

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Alice Miles

Counselor at Mt. Carmel Veteran Service Center and AAYLC Board Director

Across the Board

As the youngest member in my family, I was never really a “spoiled” child. Everything was equally given to each sibling. When I received anything, like gifts or money, I was sometimes quick to turn them down. However, giving is my love language! Every present that a person receives has a special meaning. The effort in giving, buying, or creating a gift is one of my favorite things to do. When searching Pinterest and imagining what things I can create, always warms my heart. It’s not because I feel good about giving to the person I care about, but I love the feeling I get when he or she is surprised about receiving something that they never expected. Everything I have ever acquired since the time I was born, is and will always be a blessing. 


Sanaa Jones

Student Board Member - Doherty HS

Upcoming Events

Colorado Gives Day - Fundraiser

Colorado Gives Day is set for Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022.  For 24 hours, Colorado comes together to raise funds for local nonprofits, and the AAYLC is ecstatic to be a part of the day! Our work to deliver innovative programs and experiences for youth is more vital now than ever before. This day of giving is one of the many ways you can make a real difference. Together, we can make the world a better place for our youth and, therefore, our collective future. Donate now by clicking here.

30th Anniversary Gala (Save the Date)

We can’t wait to celebrate our 30th Gala with you in a couple of months! Tickets will go on sale soon, so keep an eye on your inboxes for your invitation and link to purchase tickets. A night full of music, dancing, mixing, mingling, and great food are in the cards for us. No need to hedge your bets – we guarantee an amazing night!  

30th African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) (Save the Date)

We are excited to host our in-person 30th Annual African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) at Colorado College on March 4th. A special thank you to our Student Advisory Committee (SAC) for determining our conference theme: "Generation Now - Emerging Leaders." We look forward to offering a memorable, fun, and informative day for students in grades 6 - 12. More to come...

Community Engagement

Scripps Howard Foundation

This month we are spotlighting Scripps Howard Foundation, which made a generous donation to the AAYLC in November. We are thankful for their generosity and dedication to the AAYLC’s mission. We would like to send a very special thank you for helping us ensure we continue to offer innovative programs and experiences for the youth in the community and beyond.

Theatreworks Partnership: Little Women

Theatreworks Colorado Springs is proud to partner with the AAYLC to offer FREE attendance at dress rehearsals for all productions in the 2022/2023 season. On Wednesday, November 23rd, approximately ten AAYLC students saw Little Women. They enjoyed a great production, and discussion with the actors after the show. The next opportunity to participate in this type of opportunity will be on February 1st with the show Aubergine.

Annual Colorado Springs Pre-Kwanzaa African Marketplace

The AAYLC was happy to participate in the Pre-Kwanzaa African Marketplace on Saturday, November 26th. There were unique vendors, west African drummers, dancers, story tellers, spoken word artists, and more. We appreciate everyone who stopped by our table at this well attended event. (Pictured: AAYLC volunteers, Jamil Aaron (l.) and Tonya Brooks (r.)

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