TEDx Boulder is returning for it’s now 9th year with an event at Chautauqua Auditorium on June 1st. Ef Rodriguez of TEDx Boulder says the theme of this year’s event is Within and Without. “We’ve given that to the speakers and they’ve run it through their own life’s filter.”
Stacey Putka, Program Director at Defy Ventures Colorado will be one of the speakers on June 1. Putka’s work with Defy Ventures Colorado involves bringing entrepreneurial education and character development training to people in prison.
“95 percent of people who are currently incarcerated will be released into our community. Just because they’re isolated from the community right now doesn’t mean they’re not part of our community. So it’s really important to us to have them be part of the community.”
Putka’s own life experience has influenced her choice of career. “I personally grew up with a father who had recovered from addiction and had remained sober for my entire life, and while he was using he also did a lot of illegal things. He just never was caught for them, never was incarcerated for them. So he was the absolute world’s best father, he was a small business owner, he was very successful and I saw the transformation in him that he was able to create and live out because of his community, and so I believe and I see my father in all of the people that we work with and know that they have the ability to transform as well.”
Once people are released from prison they’re subject to huge challenges, one of the biggest being finding a job. Defy Colorado works to help them meet with interviewers, attain housing, good mental and physical health care as well as in depth rehabilitation services.
Putka says she hopes her TEDx talk will help change people’s minds about convicted felons and what they represent. “It’s extremely humbling to be able to share that idea with however many people are going to be in the Chautauqua venue. My hope is that some people, their hearts and their minds are changed and they’re more willing to view people with criminal histories with empathy.”