2012 Mayor’s Youth Award Granted to
Two Colorado Youth at Risk Student Leaders
February 29th, 2012 – South High School Senior, Amira Kiass, and
George Washington High School Senior, Briauna Persinger, are being recognized
by Mayor Hancock and granted the 2012 Mayor’s Youth Award for overcoming
adversity and showing strength and determination. The awards will be presented by
Mayor Hancock and the Mayor’s Office for Education and Children at a special recognition ceremony, on Wednesday, February 29th from 6:00-7:00 pm
at the City and County Building (located at 1437 Bannock Street in the rotunda
on 2nd floor).
Amira and Briauna grew up in lives that were riddled with traumatic events and difficult family circumstances including drug abuse, homelessness, poverty and racism. However, despite these circumstances, both are being honored by Mayor Hancock for their resiliently and working beyond their circumstances to create new lives for themselves through personal determination, and with the support of Colorado Youth at Risk – a local non-profit agency.
Both students joined Colorado Youth at Risk (CYAR) in 2009 and have thrived within the dropout prevention program that sets itself apart from other mentoring programs by focusing on both community and one-on-one mentoring and providing intensive youth training. Colorado Youth at Risk fostered and supported the young women’s personal strengths and empowered them to overcome past obstacles to create a pathway to a new future.
Consistent with the award criteria, Briauna is determined to not let generational poverty hold her back and is a leader in several school groups and youth programs, including the CYAR Touchstone program. Amira has also emerged as a peer
leader and volunteer for Colorado Youth at Risk. Amira has volunteered over 300 hours with Colorado Youth at Risk, recruits youth and adults to join the program and facilitates programs for other high school teens. Drew DeMarie, CYAR Program Manager nominated both students for the 2012 Mayor’s Youth Award explaining “these young women deserve to be acknowledged and have their life highlighted in a way that supports their resilience and further inspires others”.
This May, both Briauna and Amira will graduate from High School and plan to attend and graduate college. Both women will proudly join past CYAR student participants who have graduated from high school at a rate of more than 90%, which is significant compared to the 52% student graduation rate for their peers in Denver Public Schools.
Colorado Youth at Risk (http://coyar.org), founded
in 1993, empowers teenage students to make life choices that positively impact
their futures through community-based mentoring and intensive training.
Colorado Youth at Risk aims to reduce the number of high school dropouts, match
students with adult mentors and provide students with a sense of their place in
The Mayor’s Youth Award, honors teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19 who overcome difficult situations in their lives. The
award seeks to recognize and support youth people who have made positive
changes and exhibited strength and determination in the face of adversity. Award recipients are determined through a nomination and selection process to recognize 20 young people at a Spring ceremony.