Each month we will be recognizing a youth leader in the field of motor vehicle and community safety. We're proud to begin this series with our very own Youth Adviser, Jocelyn Hernandez.
IN HER OWN WORDS: I'm currently in my third year at Johnson & Wales working on my Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice. I want to be a law enforcement officer once I graduate. Currently I am the Youth Advisor for the Sexual Violence Prevention unit at the Colorado Department of Public Health and for the Tony Grampsas Youth Services program at the Colorado Department of Human Services. In my position I have over 90 grantees total that I visit to provide a youth perspective. I go though their quarterly reports and give back feedback on what they're doing great, and what they can improve on. In this position I have also been able to create a Positive Youth Development (PYD) tool, give PYD trainings, participate in grants, and be a part of forums to better the relationship between young people and police officers in the Denver Metro area.
How did you get involved in community safety?
I got involved in community safety through my Law Enforcement Explorer Program, in hopes of becoming a police officer one day. I stay engaged because there is always more one can do and there are always improvements to make. My favorite part of the Explorer Program is how all the youth become not only a team, but also a family. All of my advisers have been mentors to me and each of them have helped me pursue my goals to have a career in law enforcement.
How can professionals in the field best support youth who are advocating for safe driving?
Professionals in the field can best support young people who are advocating for safe driving by having them involved in ever step of the way. From grants to advertisement. They are the youth experts and must be treated and engaged as such.
You mentioned your work improving the relationships between Denver police and youth. Can you tell us more?
I believe the keys to improving the relationships between the Denver Police and youth are to create a better understanding of each other. Law enforcement as a whole needs to understand youth development, while the youth need to better understand what by law they have to provide to Law Enforcement, their rights, and how to appropriately use their rights.
Please tell us about one of the accomplishments you are most proud of.
On of the accomplishments I am most proud of is the Positive Youth Development Tool for Youth.This is a resource that will outlive my time as a Youth Adviser (Adult PYD Tool Here ). This tool will improve youth/adult conversations in regards to improving an organization/program. I wanted to give the young people these organizations are serving a stronger voice and I believe the use of this tool will help do that.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to dance and hang out with my friends and family!