Jes' Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Opportunity Youth

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Denver, CO

JES WARD

Executive Director
cityWILD

“Perfect means getting to where you want to be, not to where everyone else says you should be.”

INTERESTS:

Education Non-Profit Organizations

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Confidence Exploration Determination Experience Culture Hard Work Perseverance Passion Support & Encouragement Community Education Fear Risk Individualism Fulfillment Self-Reflection

FOUNDATION:

Teaching / Mentoring

TAGS:

addiction, alcohol, balance, confidence, culture, depression, empowerment, family, healing, home, homeless, leadership, nature, school, struggles, students, support, teen pregnancy, volunteering, youth

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Her mother was a teen mom who struggled to raise her six children.
  • Eventually, Jes realized she needed to forge a better path for her younger siblings, so she moved in with her grandmother.
  • She chose to do a year of Americorps instead of going directly to college.
  • Ended up working for an organization called PeaceJam for 13 years.
  • Her job started to feel too corporate, and she wanted to get back to her hometown of Denver, Colorado and work directly with students.
  • She took a job at CityWILD, a Denver nonprofit that "uses the lens of nature to teach leadership and self-empowerment."
  • One of the activities CityWILD does with at-risk youth is whitewater rafting; they teach kids to "scout rapids" both in the water and in their lives.
  • Believes one of the best things about nature is that it isn't about perfection-it's about the appreciation of diversity.

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