The Denver Kids Enrichment team has been piloting an Enrichment Student Advisory Council (ESAC) program during the 2020-21 school year. The student leaders who comprise ESAC have been meeting monthly, and they are currently planning our 2021 Senior Celebration event. They each recently submitted a photo to represent themselves in an ESAC collage (scroll down to see!).
Learn more about these students and the Denver Kids ESAC program from our recent Q&A with ESAC staff liaisons, Doen Lee, Enrichment Coordinator, and Olivia Sutphen, Future Options Coordinator:
Why was ESAC created?
The Enrichment Student Advisory Council is a group effort from the Enrichment Team, created to incorporate student voices into Denver Kids’ enrichment programming. This program engages youth in decision-making, leadership, and community building. Youth leadership development not only contributes to the growth of young people, but also to adult partners and the organization.
How does the program support our student leaders?
Through ESAC, students develop skills such as interviewing, public speaking, event planning, and budgeting through hands-on practical experience. ESAC students will advise the Enrichment Team as they plan mentoring events, future options events, and student engagement events. ESAC gives students a space to voice their ideas and carry them out. It allows them to practice, to make mistakes, to learn, and to be authentic to themselves.
Students are taking what they have learned throughout the year in ESAC to plan Senior Celebration in May 2021.
How do these students inspire you?
These students inspire me through their engagement and their passion. It can be challenging to continue showing up virtually month after month. These students have not met each other outside of Zoom. It's also awesome when students notice their own growth.
What else would you like to share about the program?
Supporting ESAC has been full of learning moments for me. As a facilitator, program developer, and educator, elevating student voice and centering student development can mean pushing my own limits of what we are in control of. We try to be intentional in our agenda design and also allow flexibility for going where the group needs to go. I am so grateful to have met and connected with 10 amazing students in our pilot year!
"ESAC has allowed me to come out of my shell, use my voice, meet new people, and grow as a person."
— Denver Kids ESAC Council Member