Spotlight on... Stefanie Winfield, Evaluation Manager
First off tell me about how you got involved in the sexual health field and what brought you to Colorado Youth Matter…
I was lucky to grow up in a home were sexuality was just another dinner conversation. It was a long time before I realized not everyone was that lucky and many of my peers were mis or under-informed. I got involved in the sexual health field in college during the HIV/AIDS crisis and was sparked to action after reading ‘And the Band Played On.’ That led to doing HIV/AID research and education in Nigeria and Malawi, first as a student and then as a Peace Corps Volunteer. After working at a few Denver non profits, I was thrilled to find this position at Colorado Youth Matter that combined so many of my passions and interests: sexual health and education, evaluation, working with communities.
What 3-5 words would you use to describe your personality?
Optimistic, direct, friendly
What is your favorite part of your job as the Evaluation Manager?
I love working with communities and helping to make good things great. I also love that every day is different and I get to use some many different parts of my brains and skills on any given day towards an outcome I am passionate about.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to ski, run, hike, camp, cook, read and play Mahjong I also love spending time with my family and my super cool kids- learning from them and watching them grow into amazing people.
You have done a lot of great work creating and expanding Colorado’s Network for Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program (TOP), a fantastic youth development program that is currently being implemented in 7 Colorado counties. What is the most exciting component of TOP, in your opinion?
I love the moment at a TOP Training of Facilitators when the light clicks and the new facilitators see what this program is really about and how well it will work for youth in their program. We just trained 10 new TOP facilitators in August and they left after 3 days so excited and ready to implement and share these great new skills with youth they are so passionate about.
In honor of “Let’s Talk Month,” do you have any tips for parents to help them talk to their kids about sex and healthy relationships?
Start early and keep it brief. Just answer the question your kids are asking and check for clarity. Often you will be pretty surprised when you understand what it is they really want to know at that moment-it’s not always what you think they want to know. And take advantage of having some of these conversations while driving in the car when you don’t have to make eye contact.
What are you looking forward to most in the upcoming months, both professionally and personally?
Personally, I am so excited for the cooler weather and snow. I can’t wait to ski with my kids again this winter. Professionally, I am really excited about the Colorado Incentive Grant funds that have just been released to enhance the implementation of TOP. I am looking forward to seeing all the great ideas facilitator have come up with put into action and improve the experience for all youth involved.