COLORADO SPRINGS—Monday marked the first day of the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission week-long youth activist training. The training is offered at Knights of Columbus Hall Penrose Library for those ages 13 to 17.

Participants will work with local non-profits including The Place, Food to Power, The Marian House and Concrete Coyote Park.

Heidi Cooper, Youth Activist Training Director at Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission (PPJC), discussed the need for these types of trainings.

“Youth have been asking for activities like this, experiences like this experiential learning,” said Cooper. “And the world is changing so quickly that I really believe that our youth is leading us into the future.”

PPJC also aims to teach youth participants about being involved in our democracy.

“We really hope that they’ll be engaged in our voting system,” said Cooper. “The League of Women Voters is coming to speak with them on Wednesday and to participate in our democracy and be a citizen, be a good citizen.”

Ellise Rafferty, a participant of the training, talked about why she values community involvement.

“I feel like especially now, there are a lot of people who only care about problems and how they affect them,” said Rafferty. “And that’s something that really has a change if we want to make lasting change.”

Another patricipant in the week-long training, Nova Atwell, explained the impact of helping the local community.

“It’s important to be part of your community because if you’re helping out people around you, you’re not only helping them, but you’re helping yourself in the end,” said Atwell.

On Tuesday, participants will learn about homeslessness. Cooper said one activity they will do is walk the path of homelessness.

For information on the youth activist training click here.