Elizabeth Valdez

Co-founder of the Fresh Voices Program, past board member, and ongoing advocate for diversity and the arts in Crookston Minnesota


1. Considering all your experience with In Progress, what is one achievement that you personally are most proud of? Why is this achievement important to you? What does it represent?: 1. That I was involved in bringing this experience to crookston and giving the Latino community the opportunity to voice and express what is important to that individual. 2. It is important to me because the community is visible in ways that people are not used to seeing them. 3. Validation

2. What did it take for us at In Progress to achieve this accomplishment? What strengths do we have that helped us succeed?: The director has to take alot of credit for this. Her passion and ability to remain consistent in her goals year after year is remarkable. Her personality engages youth and creates a welcoming and fun atmosphere of acceptance. People feel safe in discovering what their beliefs and ideas are and an outlet has been created where all creativity is accepted. She also has a great ability to accept people where they are at starting with youth at very young ages. The program helps them to start defining themselves. I've never seen anyones ideas dismissed!

3. What do you think makes In Progress unique? What 2-3 things are at our very core that make us stand out from other arts programs or youth development programs?: Consistency, the goal of inner awareness, using invisible people to give the community culture within their culture.

4. As you think about In Progress, what do you value most? What keeps you engaged here?: I love that in progress provides opportunities as they outgrow their program by placing them in roles of teachers etc..it takes the validation to full form by doing so. I love the voice that it gives each individual. I love that it creates a safe and welcoming space for Latino youth.

all thoughts presented on this page have been given with permission from the person interviewed.