Jul 07

CAP announces 2021 Best of Colorado Afterschool winners

Two afterschool educators have been named as Colorado Afterschool Partnership’s (CAP) Best of Colorado Afterschool.

The two winners were nominated by a peer or colleague during the Spring of 2021 and represent the Best of Colorado Afterschool categories of “Making an Impact” and “Program Director/Coordinator”.

Cami Tami – Best of Colorado Afterschool – Program Director/Coordinator

Cami Tam has served as the Program Director at Denver’s Heart & Hand (H&H) Center since 2020. Prior to her time as director, she worked in various roles with the nonprofit, including as High School Program Manager when she helped launch H&H’s Career & College Readiness (CCR) program.

According to Mary Cipollone, H&H’s Executive Director, Tam has always been passionate about building relationships with youth and ensuring that students in historically underserved communities are provided with the resources and supports needed to help create more of an equal opportunity to quality education. She began connecting with students whenever she could and focused on their individual goals related to school, social-emotional needs, and life after graduation. In the last four years, the CCR program has reached over 60 students, with 95% of seniors graduating high school compared to 75% of their Denver Public Schools (DPS) peers; and 60% enrolling in post-secondary education compared to 51% of DPS students.

“These program successes would not have been possible without Cami’s humility and persistence in walking alongside each young person,” Cipollone said. “All that Cami does and undoes continues to make a lasting impact at H&H, in the Denver afterschool community, and in the lives of local youth.”

Tam holds a BA in Psychology with a minor in Education Studies at the University of California, San Diego and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver. Originally from Richmond, California, Cami enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, being outdoors, reading, trying new foods, and sleeping in her spare time.

Ivan Arizaga – Best of Colorado Afterschool – Making an Impact

Ivan Arizaga has been with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County for five years and currently serves as the Program Coordinator of the brand-new Summer of Discovery program at Polaris Expeditionary Learning School in Fort Collins. Since starting his career as a part-time Youth Development Specialist at the Loveland-Pulliam Unit, he has held the roles of Character & Leadership Specialist, Program Manager, Program Coordinator, & Club Director in various locations across Larimer County. Arizaga especially enjoys introducing youth to new activities and programs, building relationships, and helping them to grow. He aims to inspire youth every day and hopes that every single Club member finishes each day with a smile on their face.

“From the day Ivan started with our organization, he has embodied what it means to be a youth development professional,” Kaycee Headrick, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County, said. “Ivan has always gone above and beyond when youth needed him. He is the first to lend a listening ear, offer a pep talk or just befriend someone who is alone.”

According to Headrick, when COVID-19 struck, Arizaga stepped up for the young people of his community by leading remote learning locations for youth who could not stay home for school and conducting outreach efforts to ensure the community’s most vulnerable students knew they had a place at the Club. When Arizaga is not working at the Club, he enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, swimming, or tubing down the Poudre River. He also loves playing soccer, football, and spikeball. One of the most important parts of Arizaga’s life is his best friend and favorite canine, Rio, who he adopted three years ago.

CAP also announced five other finalists for the award:

  • Stephanie Hansen from Adams 12 School District
  • Maurice White from Eastridge Elementary School (CCSD)
  • Cami Rodriguez from Mountain View Elementary School (Adams 12)
  • Molly Campbell from Foothills Children’s Program
  • Shavon Glasper from Discovery Link at Polaris at Ebert

The winners will receive an in-person visit from CAP staff members, who will be on-hand to present them with a trophy and to personally thank them for their dedication and service to Colorado’s youth.