“I loved that you explained your life in a way that kids can understand and also, that you were so inspiring to me and all of the people in that room.”, Telluride 6th Grader.

  The Telluride Education Foundation (TEF) launched its Film & Speaker Series last week with Jeff Griffin, a national speaker for the WhyTry? organization, a Paralympian, and author of, “I’Mpossible”, which teaches a powerful message of resilience using his life experiences. It was an inspirational and emotional evening as Jeff shared his life story to help community members know where resilience comes from and how to access it. Jeff made a huge impact on Telluride students as he stood up and walked across the stage after doctors told him he had 0% chance of ever walking again after an accident left him completely paralyzed 20 years ago. One 6th grade student wrote in a letter to Jeff Griffin following his presentation, “I loved what you said about labels because I always assumed that people in wheelchairs could not walk, but when you stood up and walked across the stage, I realized that nothing you wear or use ever defines who you are or what your limits are.” Another 6th grader wrote, “You showed me that something that seems to hold you back can really open new doors that I never thought would open.”

Telluride Education Foundation’s Film & Speaker Series focuses on raising awareness about social, emotional well-being and topics that are impacting our local Telluride community. TEF, in collaboration with the Telluride School Board and Telluride School District (TSD), established Resilience as it’s the theme for speakers and films to bring to the Telluride community this school year.  TEF’s mission aligns with the Telluride School District and the Colorado Department of Education’s newly adopted standards, which they call “21st-century essential skills” for all Colorado graduates. Twenty-first-century skills include mindfulness, resilience, technology literacy, critical thinking, collaboration, communication and more. 

TSD kicked off the school year in August with Christian Moore, a nationally-recognized speaker on resilience, who came to speak exclusively with teachers. Christian has spoken at the White House, and at John Hopkins University’s commencement. He is the author of “The Resilience Breakthrough”  and founder of Why Try?, a resilience curriculum currently being used in the Telluride School District. 

Telluride Education Foundation has an impressive line-up this year of nationally recognized speakers and films within the following categories: character, sports and technology resilience. In January, TEF will bring back (by popular demand) John O’Sullivan, TEDx speaker, author and coach to discuss resilience in youth sports. In March, TEF will screen the documentary, Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience, about helping young people thrive in our screen and stress-filled world. TEF will have Dr. Yalda Uhls from UCLA available following the film to provide expert guidance on this topic, as well as, answer any questions parents may have about technology use and our children. Dr. Uhls has worked with CommonSense Media, a leading source of entertainment and technology recommendations for families. TEF’s Film & Speaker Series is always free to the public and all community members are invited to attend. Be on the lookout for a series of Parenting Workshops, “Building Resilience: Continue the conversation”, hosted by Bright Futures in support of TEF & TSD’s resilience theme throughout the year.