In his community-engaged work as a Colorado College student, Andre Dufresne has devoted his time to addressing mental health and suicide prevention among Colorado Springs youth. El Paso County maintains one of the highest youth suicide rates in the country, and Andre developed and implemented an educational curriculum designed to help young people understand the array of mental health resources available to them. Andre also brought this issue to his role as a fellow in the Quad Innovation Project, a joint initiative between the four major colleges in Colorado Springs that brings students together to serve as consultants for local businesses and organizations. He has also carried this program to the Children's Hospital of Colorado Springs. Andre has committed to better understand the criminal justice system in the United States by serving the 4th Judicial District in the City of Colorado Springs as a volunteer probation officer. Over the last three years, Andre’s efforts have totaled more than 1,000 hours, and he was recognized by AmeriCorps for this work, which also includes education and conservation work in his home state of Wisconsin, in addition to his service in Colorado.
I grew up in a family that had a strong commitment to serving the community and fortunately, this has rubbed off on me. In recent years, I have attempted to understand issues related to criminal justice, mental health and education by putting myself as close to these environments as possible. I served as an AmeriCorps member in a middle school, worked on a mental health program with Children's Hospital and volunteered as a probation officer at the courthouse. I hope to place my energy into creating programs and initiatives that assist in alleviating the issues facing our youth today. If we don’t take care of the people that will lead us tomorrow, society is doomed. Having experience dealing with issues surrounding mental health, education and criminal justice puts me in a position to start work towards creating solutions. I have worked with people of various backgrounds and I know how to bring people together to focus on addressing issues. I am passionate about education and have a strong desire to reform it so that students are not fighting against the system and instead working with it.