Morgan Mote is passionate about working with and helping at-risk youth. She has spent the past decade working with educational and humanitarian programs in Sweden, Bosnia, Mexico and throughout the U.S., but picked her hometown of Colorado Springs to start a career. The 26-year-old mother of two is happily married and works as the assistant executive director of the Colorado Springs Teen Court, where she has been for five years. Mote took some time this week to tell the Business Journal about the work she does for the nonprofit and how Teen Court is making the Springs a better place to live.
How does Teen Court work and what role do you play at the organization?
The Colorado Springs Teen Court focuses on helping at-risk youth repair the damage caused by their crimes to better the community and themselves. My role as the assistant executive director is to oversee all of our defendants and help with fundraising and getting awareness of the Teen Court out to the Colorado Springs community.
How did you come to work for the nonprofit?
I’ve always had a huge passion for youth. My bachelor’s is in communications and I was actually a volunteer here while I was in high school. I went away to college, got married, had some kids and decided to come back and continue to keep working for Colorado Springs Teen Court in their program department with all the defendants: That’s really where my passion is — with all those kids.
How do your values align with those of the organization?
I’ve been with the Teen Court for so long and I really feel like our values are so similar. We really believe that kids need to be empowered to change and to make a difference, and I believe that those kids are going to be a part of our community forever, so helping them now is our best opportunity.
Did having children change your outlook and how you work?
Absolutely. My children are little toddlers, so it’s different, but just realizing that as a parent you don’t always have control over your kids is important. A lot of the parents that come here are frustrated, discouraged or embarrassed that their kids are here in the court system, so being able to relate to them on a different level has been great.
What has been your experience with the city’s young professional community?
Growing up here, I know a lot more people than I would if I moved here, but so many people move in and out all the time that it really does take a lot of effort to get involved in the young professional community — but I think it’s completely worthwhile. I think it keeps more young professionals in Colorado Springs. Leadership Pikes Peak has really brought out that side of me, as far as understanding that we need more young professionals in this community that value their input in this community so we can give them the ability to grow this community to where it needs to be.
Do you think that this is a good environment for that type of growth?
Absolutely. Just like anywhere else, you have to get plugged in and I think it’s really easy in this community as long as you put some effort into it and really try to get involved. There are so many nonprofits that need people to volunteer their time, and there are so many businesses here that can use young professionals and their expertise.
What are your goals professionally and how do you see your career developing?
I think that being able to continue working for this nonprofit and being in the director role that I am in is kind of where my goal is at this point. I really do believe that Teen Court has the opportunity to be the resource for teens — especially at-risk teens and any parents that have questions or concerns. I really believe that Teen Court is the answer for that, in helping kids get through their teenage years and become good citizens with their own goals. So I strongly believe in what we’re doing here, I love being here and I want to continue on in these roles.
Why did you decide to stay in Colorado Springs as opposed to relocating?
Well, I went to school in Denver and it just didn’t feel like home — it was too big and big-city oriented. I think that Colorado Springs has that small town feel now, even as it’s growing. I love my mountains and I love Colorado Springs. This is home for me and hopefully it is home for many other young professionals in the future.