Meca Delgado is the program manager for Boulder County Youth Alliance and special projects coordinator for Boulder County Community services Department
YEARS IN LONGMONT: 27
FAMILY: Significant other, Matthew; future stepdaughter, Cielo
OCCUPATION: Program manager, Boulder County Healthy Youth Alliance; special projects coordinator, Boulder County Community Services Department
Q: Why did you move to Longmont, and what do you like most about living here?
A: My family moved here when I was 7, and I chose to stay here for several reasons. My parents, four siblings and 13 nieces and nephews all live on the Front Range between Longmont and Denver. I purchased my first home here, because this ever-growing town still feels like a small town. I love all the renovations that are happening, especially the revitalization of Main Street.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: I love my job, although it has transitioned a lot over the years. I grew up in a family with addiction issues and I also had many friends who struggled with substances. I think this is what drew me to my work—I do substance-abuse prevention, working with youth and families. HYA sees parents as the first line of prevention to substance use in their kids, so right now my grants and work focus have me supporting parents. If we can provide parents with the skills and tools to support their kids socially, emotionally and Preview (opens in a new window)academically, their kids are much less likely to use substances. Parents may not believe it, but even with technology, the Internet, school and friends, they are still the first resource for their kids when it comes to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Parents have a great deal of influence over their child’s decision to use substances; I want to remind and empower parents to use that influence effectively.
Recently, HYA was awarded a grant to help outreach and provide retail-marijuana education in both English and Spanish. This work has been truly fascinating. I am watching and participating in social, cultural and systematic change as it relates to substances. We have learned a lot from tobacco prevention and alcohol prevention, and we are trying to use that to help prevent underage marijuana use. I have learned more about marijuana in the last two years than I have about any other substance. Most people can agree that underage use of any substance is not something we want for our community.
As the special projects coordinator for my department, I manage grants that are funded through Boulder County Human Services dollars. I am also grants and fiscal manager for the city of Boulder marijuana-tax dollars awarded to the Healthy Futures Coalition to do substance-abuse prevention in the city of Boulder. This work excites me because of how much I learn about my community and the resources that exist to support it.
Q: You were a board member of the Longmont YMCA, you’re now on the Boulder Valley YMCA board, you’ve worked extensively with several other organizations like the Longmont Community Foundation and Foothills United Way, and you even helped with flood-recovery grants. What draws you toward so much volunteer work?
A: One of the things I appreciate most about my volunteer work (and my regular work) is the ability to build effective relationships. I like being on committees that plan community events, like Cinco de Mayo, Longmont’s Multicultural Awards Banquet and the Longmont Parade of Lights. I love to give 100 percent to anything that I decide to do; I am high-energy and I am always willing to lend a hand. I think it is these qualities that support me in building strong, collaborative partnerships.
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: I am definitely a thrill seeker. I love to ride my motorcycle on nice-weather days, I enjoy jet-skiing and tubing in the summer, and I picked up snowboarding as a winter sport two years ago. I also usually play soccer on two or more teams, both indoor and outdoor. I enjoy coaching Cielo and one of my niece’s soccer teams. I also really enjoy skydiving, roller coasters, bungee jumping—basically anything that gets my heart rate going, including extreme races like the Tough Mudder.