5 questions for Delwin Maben, Centennial Youth Commission chair

Youth community member leads with eye on mental health

Posted 11/26/18

Delwin Maben is the chair of the Centennial Youth Commission, which participates in citywide events, develops community programs and weighs in on some policy-making processes, according to the city's …

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5 questions for Delwin Maben, Centennial Youth Commission chair

Youth community member leads with eye on mental health

Posted

Delwin Maben is the chair of the Centennial Youth Commission, which participates in citywide events, develops community programs and weighs in on some policy-making processes, according to the city's website. Maben, a senior at Cherry Creek High School, has lived in Centennial for about four years. He shared his experience on the commission with the Centennial Citizen.

How did you get involved with the commission?

I originally grew up in a township just north of Philadelphia … I had just started eighth grade here in 2014, and I had not found my own place in the community yet. I decided I would get a job, and that a great first step would be attending a local workshop on resume writing that my mom had heard about. At the end of the workshop, the Youth Commission, the sponsors of the event, introduced themselves and noted they accepted applications every summer.

When the summer of 2015 rolled around, I made sure to apply. I got called for an interview, and by all accounts did terribly. To this day I'm still not sure why they accepted me. At the end of the day though, I soon made a name for myself within the commission. After a year I was the vice-chairman, and after a year and a half, I had become the youngest chairman ever, a position which I still hold today.

Why is having a youth commission important to the city?

Youth in general are one of the most underrepresented groups in politics at all levels, despite the fact that at all levels, politicians spend a large percentage of their time debating how to help youth. Centennial has taken the smart approach by giving a voice to youth to learn what the real youth issues are instead of having to guess.

What's one action you've taken while on the commission that you're proud of?

While we still have more work to do, many of the changes I have made as chairman have been geared toward improving efficiency and giving commissioners the power to create change in areas they are passionate about. I have implemented changes to our schedule to get our commission set for each new year more quickly, as well as restructured how we determine our yearly initiatives so that each commissioner can be focused on areas they care about.

What's your favorite memory with the commission?

When myself, two other commissioners and three mental health professionals were doing a panel on teen suicide at the Colorado Association of School Executives' winter conference. We were offered a seat on the panel as “mental health experts” after the commission's role in spearheading mental health issues in Centennial. Seeing a room full of executives captivated by the work ethic and passion of youth from Centennial was amazing. I saw two of my commissioners speaking from both their heart and mind, a combination so powerful that we had superintendents from across the state tell us that we are what they would take away from that conference.

Mental health has been an issue that has become our most important initiative throughout the last two years. The commission has been trying our best to tackle the issue with innovative and collaborative solutions. Upon request of the commission, former Mayor Cathy Noon declared May as Mental Health Month in Centennial in perpetuity. In addition to that, commissioners have participated in events across the Denver metro area to not only speak about mental health, but to learn more about the issue.

What's something people might not know about you?

I work for the Colorado State Youth Council as the communications committee chair, as well as Starbucks, and help advise A-D Works! as a member of their young adult committee. I also am a diehard Sixers fan, and have missed very few games in the last five years.

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