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Sylvan Argo, the current Community Programs director at The Family YMCA, has been named the new director of the Los Alamos Teen Center.
The position was left vacant when Michelangelo Lobato was hired by the Los Alamos Public School District as a counselor for Chamisa Elementary School.
“I believe the Teen Center is a critical asset for our community, and I am excited by the opportunity to explore, create and promote programs, including the development of a new space, that supports the teens of Los Alamos,” Argo said.
Argo graduated Cum Laude from Whitman College with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She earned distinction in coursework for a master’s degree in Human Ecology from University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.
She has lived in Botswana, Swaziland, Kenya, Mozambique and Egypt, and holds an avid personal interest in community development. Her personal credo is to embrace cultural differences and promote positive communication between individuals of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and ages.
She moved to Los Alamos in 1998 and graduated from Los Alamos High School with “the class of Cerro Grande.”
“I can identify with life as a teen in Los Alamos, and appreciate our community for the assets it provides to support our youth.”
Argo brings more than 10 years of experience researching, creating, piloting, implementing, and evaluating youth and teen programs in non-profit and school settings. She was an intern for two summers at the United States Agency for International Development in Cairo, Egypt, and then spent another two summers with USAID in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, where she explored a piece of her undergraduate thesis research through the Health and Social Development Office, in cooperation with Save the Children Federation STI/HIV Prevention Program.
She also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for BuildaBridge International in Philadelphia, a program that teaches life skills through the arts to underserved youth and adults in homeless shelters and transitional homes.
Argo began working seasonally for the Y in 2004 directing the Y’s Earth Service Corps (YES Corps) program. She completed her MSc dissertation based on this experience, which was titled, “Planting the Seeds of Ecological Literacy in an Environmental Education Program: Cultivating Connections Between Place, People and Community.”
She performed this function for several summers, and also served as a contract employee with Los Alamos County as their Community Outreach Coordinator.
Her role at the Y expanded to a full-time position in 2009 as she directed the Climbing Wall and Adventures Programs overseeing YES Corps, the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), iCare Wednesdays and iCare Camps, and the Los Alamos Youth Food Project.
Argo also worked with the Y’s JUNTOS and Youth Mobilizer programs, providing mentorship and leadership to high school aged youth in Los Alamos and Española. In 2012, she became the Y’s Community Programs director. Argo also supported teachers at the environmental clubs at the high school and middle school.
“Sylvan is a tremendous asset to the Y and to our community,” said Linda Daly, CEO of The Family YMCA. “Her passion for connecting youth to the outdoors is evident through her development of our YES Corps program, which is now a summer model that the YMCA of the USA has benchmarked as a national standard.”
“Like Michelangelo, Sylvan is considered a “go-to” resource in Los Alamos in terms of issues pertaining to youth,” Daly added.
Additionally, Argo enjoys painting/drawing, photography, gardening, guitar, theatre, poetry, ultimate Frisbee, yoga, hiking, camping and climbing.