Clear Creek youth given awards for overcoming adversity

By Sandra Chamberlain
Posted 4/19/10

For some youths, the teenage years are tough. For others theyíre even tougher because of life circumstances. Their challenge is to overcome those difficulties to make their lives better. Seven …

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Clear Creek youth given awards for overcoming adversity


For some youths, the teenage years are tough. For others theyíre even tougher because of life circumstances. Their challenge is to overcome those difficulties to make their lives better.

Seven Clear Creek County teenagers who overcame huge challenges were honored April 7 with the countyís Metropolitan Mayors and Commissioners Award at a dinner at St. Paulís Church in Idaho Springs. More than 50 people attended the event, including five of the nominees, their families

 and friends.

“Many of us went through our childhood and our teenage years without the adversity that they have gone through, and they achieved more than we did,” Clear Creek commissioner Joan Drury told the audience.

The awards are given to teens between 13 and 19 who have overcome personal adversity and created positive change in their lives.

“It’s wonderful to honor these kids and what they had to go through. (It’s) a joy to recognize these young adults,” said Jamielyn Lovato from the Clear Creek Workforce Center, who organized the dinner.

The five award winners who attended the dinner were Mike Rosevear, Cody Morris, Chandler Morgan, Megan Mangum and Brandi Coombs. The other two winners, Josie Versailles and Chelsea Nihiser, were unable to attend.

Four of the seven county winners, Versailles, Mangum, Coombs and Nihiser, were chosen to be honored at the district level with a one-year scholarship to a community college and $100 toward books.

“We see the effect of the Clear Creek school system, how it allows kids to meet challenges other kids would not have to deal with,” Clear Creek commissioner Kevin O’Malley said. “They are definitely moving to a better place than where they started.”

At the dinner, the teens’ stories were told.

Mike Rosevear

After Mike Rosevear, 14, lost a longtime friend to suicide last year, he became withdrawn and his grades plummeted.

“I was worried Mike thought it was all right to commit suicide,” his mother Terry said.

Eventually, Mike sought counseling that helped both him and his parents through much of their pain. Mike got his grades up and started his own graphic design business at the age of 14.

Cody Morris

“I had to grow up pretty fast,” said Cody Morris, 19, after he lost his dad in a car accident and his stepdad to suicide.

His stepdad committed suicide in June 2009 when Cody’s mom was five-months pregnant, so he had to help support a family of seven.

“I just kinda dealt with it,” with the help of counseling, he said. Cody plans to attend Red Rocks Community College in the fall.

Chandler Morgan

“He was getting into fights and failing at school,” Jeremy Morgan said of his son Chandler, 14, who attended The Academy in Westminster.

“We had a laundry list of things we were worried about (with regard to Chandler),” Jeremy said. Then, in August 2009, the family moved to Georgetown and Chandler got involved in sports. His grades improved dramatically, and he was on the honor roll twice.

“He is not the kid (who was at) the Academy,” Jeremy said. “What a surprise.”

Megan Mangum

Megan Mangum, 19, moved to Idaho Springs in 1998. At 15, she left home due to a difficult living situation, “couch surfed” for three years and lived in her car for nine months. Despite these hardships, Megan has worked since the age of 14.

“It’s crazy what this girl can do. … I look up to her as my mentor,” her close friend Chris Yoakem said. Today, Megan works at the Clear Creek Rec Center and two Evergreen rec centers. She also interns four to five days a week for emergency medical services and is in the pre-medicine program at the CU Medical Center where she wants to become a neurosurgeon and study genetic engineering.

Her biggest influence in reaching her goals has been sports. “I learned drive and teamwork, and my coach helped out a lot,” she said.

Brandi Coombs

Brandi Coombs, 18, came to Clear Creek County in 1998 with her mother Velvet and two siblings.

They were homeless at the time, Brandi had a speech impediment and was abused by a family friend. With the help of the Rock House Teen Center and her church, Brandi moved on.

Sports also played a key role in her recovery. She is working and going to high school. After graduation, she hopes to go to CSU in Pueblo.

Brandi says her mom gives her most of her strength.

“My mom is my hero.”


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