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Colorado Young Leaders plans local expansion

Board President Darci Barlow (left) and Founder and Executive Director of Colorado Young Leaders Nicole Mahobian (right) at the August 27 fundraiser at Cherokee Ranch & Castle.

By Lisa Nicklanovich; photos courtesy of Christy Herrington Photography

Colorado Young Leaders (CYL), a non-profit created for high schoolers, is growing by leaps and bounds and looking to expand into the 80108 zip code.  

Nicole Mahobian, founder and executive director of CYL said, “After only 19 months, we are aware of the immense need to continue to develop local chapter hubs.  The 80108 zip code is our next stop, as we have CYL students from Castle Pines who attend Highlands Ranch high schools and a student-led club in Colorado Springs.  We also have a wealth of non-profit partners in this zip code.  Our goal, with community support and funding, is to have a chapter and program director lead in this area.”

Currently CYL has three locations; one each in Denver, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.  It develops young people’s leadership skills through a variety of service-learning opportunities.  Sandy Sarge, treasurer of CYL and a Daniels Ridge resident, said, “Students can explore as many options as they want and see what drives their heart.  They can volunteer with one of our 40 non-profit partners, go on a service adventure such as assisting the disabled on the ski slopes, and attend leadership meetings.”

Students can navigate through a leadership development process which includes “milestones to the summit”, reaching the top of Mt. Bross, for instance, once they have participated in a series of leadership activities.

Treasurer of Colorado Young Leaders Sandy Sarge on stage with Darci Barlow.  Sarge has lived in Castle Pines with her husband for seven years.  They have four young adult children.

CYL has worked with more than 300 students so far and logged 12,000 community service hours.  Plans are in the works to create a learning management system (LMS) that will help with generating a consistent dynamic curriculum to students and help track volunteer hours.  Thanks to a recent fundraiser on August 27 at Cherokee Ranch & Castle, CYL has raised some funds towards the management system and also is on its way to funding scholarships so as not to limit who can attend events.

Sarge said, “By developing a new generation of leaders with a passion to serve, CYL has renewed my sense of hope and faith in this generation.  It is amazing to see a student identify their passion and then convert it to action that supports their passion.”  Sarge shared a story about a student who had completely planned her future from business school to owning her own business, but through CYL discovered her real passion was children in need.  The student completely changed direction, claiming she now wants to go to either law or medical school to find a way to impact the lives of children.

Mahobian said, “High school students have infinite potential if you are able to connect them to their passion and purpose in life.  They need the opportunity to give back, to explore, and to use their unique strength in the real world.  High schoolers love this community and we know their experiences will propel them into a purpose-driven future of immense impact at their colleges and future workplaces.”

CYL is looking for additional corporate sponsors and in-kind donations are always welcome.  For more information and a list of upcoming events, go to or contact Mahobian directly at



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