Our scholar Alexander Aleman has his projects focus on Youth Education and Health and well-being. Here’s what he has to say about his project, “After learning about the various institutional and individual factors that lead to students dropping out, I chose to re-focus my Puksta project toward preventing the summer learning loss. I love working with kids. I started a free fitness program for kids when I was 13 called Healthy Kids in Action. My program is a thriving 8-week summer fitness program for kids that has even been featured on the Denver Post and Colorado Public Radio. My goal is to further develop my fitness program and use it as a base to provide kids rich summer learning opportunities through exercise that will prevent summer learning loss and ultimately narrow down the achievement gap.”
Have you met our alumna, Bailey Cross? During her time as a Puksta Scholar she volunteered on a service trip to Nicaragua. She learned about community activism, fair trade, and economic empowerment through the Jubilee House Community in Managua. Bailey assisted with building a health clinic and organizing clinic files, and led a leadership camp for youth and helped with English classes at Arms of Love in Managua. Her main focus was gender issues, sexual assault, and domestic violence which led her to being a volunteer on the CSU Victim Assistance Team hotline monthly to provide confidential support and advocacy to Colorado State University students and any family or friends who have experienced sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking on or off campus.
Did you know that April is stress awareness month? Addressing our stress can be scary and most of the time very overwhelming. Take a look at this video and start to implement a few of these ideas into your own day to find time to clear your mind.
Two of the podcast episodes coming up on, Maybe It’s Rocket Science, will be going over immigration and DREAMERS. Our scholar, Anarely Marquez-Gomez, focuses on exactly that for her project. “My project has revolved around community organizing within the immigrant community. The program began as a series of Immigrant rights workshops addressing topics such as : Pathways to Citizenship, Citizenship Application Workshops, and What to Do if ICE is at Your Door. The program has now transitioned into ensuring DREAMERS on the CSU campus have adequate living solutions raging from, health care, scholarships, tuition, hate crimes, and other important issues. Currently the organization is engaging in negotiations with President Tony Frank and other school administration and has presented a list of recommendations.”
All of our scholars at Puksta do absolutely amazing contributions to their communities. One of which is Leo Andrade who aim to help minority and low Incomes students attain art related resources. “I was once part of an afterschool art program when I was in middle school. Before I joined I had no idea about what possible career path I would take or how I would get there once I decided. This afterschool program taught me how to use digital computer programs, illustrate, and network so that when I applied and entered college I’d be ready. I want other future students to have access to a collaborative environment that‚ goal is to do exactly that.”
Time to meet one of our amazing scholars! Marwan Osman has her focus on diversity and inclusion, here is what she has to say about her project, “My passion and interest for diversity stems from my own personal struggles with coming to terms with my cultural identity of being a Somali-American. It wasn’t until the end of high school that this mindset had faded away. I went to the Denver school of Science and Technology (DSST), DSST was continuously praised and prided itself for its diverse student population, and it was during my high school years, which I started to become surrounded by those who shared a similar cultural background. This is when I started to accept my cultural identity, as I was able to see the love some of my peers had for their cultures, and it inspired me to adopt this mindset. My passion for inclusivity drives my want to extend the everlasting impact my high school experience has given me and offer it to other higher-ed institutions.”
Social justice has always been my passion, especially since embarking upon my adventure into graduate education. The Puksta foundation seemed like a natural fit for my pursuits and I was happy to undertake a poetry program at the Community College of Aurora to help junior college students discover their voice and agency, as a part of my fellowship. The conversations and comradery that abounds at Puksta classes and gatherings literally fills me with optimism and I am proud to have been included within a group that contains some of the most incredible and mindful individuals that I might ever have a chance of knowing. The fact that Puksta has empowered me to positively affect the lives and well-being of others is simply amazing and I hope to continue being one of the “good kids” that Harry and Eva wanted so badly to assist and promote.
Hello! I am Cicilia Saenz or Cici which ever you prefer, this is currently my third year at MSU, hoping to get my degree in Special education with a concentration in CLD. As a Puksta scholar I have been able to make many wonderful connections, and for that reason it is something I have come to love. Within Puksta I have been able to learn my capabilities and what I can do with them, such as informing people of something I am very passionate about. I have also met some wonderful people that have many amazing qualities that I have been able to learn from and will hold in my heart. As a Puksta scholar my goal is to reach out to low-income communities and inform them of special education resources, so that parents and students are able to advocate for themselves if they feel that something in their education is missing. Within this project I also hope that students are able to learn that it is okay to need a little extra support. I hope to accomplish this by using all the resources that have been provided to me by Puksta.
Over the weekend of the January 19 th 2019, Puksta Scholars came together for the annual Puksta Collegiate Winter Retreat. The retreat hosted 64 scholars, and 6 coordinators at the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Denver, Colorado. Before heading out to the streets for the Womxn’s March, Kathleen Ferrick the coordinator from Denver University provided a quick overview of the Womxn’s March history and how it has developed into what it has become today. This was followed by Roudy Hildreth, the coordinator at CU Boulder. Roudy discussed how to be an observer rather than one who participates in these types of events, in order to understand and acknowledge numerous viewpoints from the side. After being very well-prepped for the march, scholars laced up their posters with Puksta colors, pamphlets, and matching balloons they were off to spread their passion. Once everyone was back at the Wells Fargo building, an amazing lunch spread by Illegal Petes was served. With sore feet, tired arms, and worn out vocals the scholars lined up to enjoy a taco spread to refuel for the rest of the day ahead. While everyone finished up their meals, Dr. Abbie Beacham, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UC Health and also the speaker for the weekend came to discuss resiliency. During a break between part 1 and part 2 of the Resiliency presentation, scholars participated in the first annual Puksta rock, paper, scissors tournament. After numerous rounds, Marwa Osman, won the award which comprised as a rock, a set of scissors, and a paper with an Amazon gift card taped to it. After the break, part 2 of resiliency presentation resumed and once those who volunteered to share was done, everyone was able to clean up the space and be presented with their hotel key cards for the Hilton down the road. Dinner was later served at Maggiano’s, an Italian restaurant downtown, where seniors presented their skits to the rest of the group and a fireside chat with Puksta Alumni, Travis and Amy Macy. Day two everyone went to breakfast at Hershner Room. After having breakfast, business continued back at the Wells Fargo Building where 5 scholars presented their projects to everyone else. Follow this link to watch the days unfold!