Meet the Founder
I'm Tonoa-Community Advocate, Educator, Business Strategist and Conversationist
Holding a Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelors in Project Management Administration, Tonoa Manuel, Founder and Curator of Second Impressions Youth Garden LLC.,is on mission to advocate and educate communities on accessibility, sustainability and application. After surviving homelessness and outpatient restraint treatment for suicidal ideation, Tonoa understood the importance of applying resources that assisted in her process of growth, healing, and embracing all of her intersectionalities. She has built Second Impressions Youth Garden around the educational model of Restorative Practice, Suicide Prevention and Community Bridging; working with local schools to bridge the gap between youth and families and the communities in which they live. She has gained a tremendous wealth of knowledge while working side by side with several local and regional organizations regarding community engagement.
Tonoa was most recently the CMAMI Coordinator, with Aurora Mental Health Centers (AuMHC) Prevention Program Aurora Youth Options (AYO); where she supported four local mentoring programs in the Mentor Area under the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). During her time with AuMHC/AYO, her experience ranged from working with middle and high school students and their families; recruiting, screening, training and managing mentors; overseeing each programs evaluation and funding. As of May 2020, Tonoa will be working closely with the Mental Health Center of Denvers Child and Family Services as a Project Manager.
Second Impressions Youth Garden is not only a community organization but a tool that believes in ensuring that communities are equipped and can gain a wealth of knowledge as it pertains to their communities and the resources that will assist their sustainability and knowledge. Tonoa was chosen to exhibit at TEDXMileHigh: Humankind in June 2019, and now sits on the Exhibits Board for TEDxMileHigh. Tonoa is also working closely with MBSK Colorado’s Wellness program and PREP Academy Girl Groups focusing on self-esteem, meaningful conversations, healthy habits, and self-worth. Second Impressions Youth Garden had the opportunity to show how society can bridge the gap with our differences to elevate and grow to the next level, with their Community Mapping Experience. She is always heavily involved with MENTOR Colorado as a TA Consultant and Facilitator regarding conversations about Racial Justice and elevating the black voice. Tonoa, was recently selected to facilitate a workshop at 2020 National Mentoring Summit in Washington, DC. and will be back in August 2020 for the March on Washington as she continues to advocate for Justice and Equality.
Gather with SIYG
"Connecting People to People"
"I'm excited to be apart of the CSOP Initiative because if promotes to building genuine relationships with people in our communities to explore and implement effective solutions to civic issues."
Hailima Yates/Luv Mrk/CEO
"I believe in SIYG and helping to ensure the mental gardens of our youth are filled with the right knowledge and wisdom in order for them to harvest the fruit of their talents and skills. I'm inspired by Tonoa, and what she is striving to accomplish with this work."
D.L. Pos Ryant/AOPYO/Executive Director
"This is such a great resource, the people are wonderful and the program is much needed. I had the pleasure of attending one of their most recent events, that was very successful and I can't wait to see the continued growth while building a stronger partnership."
Simone Williams/Denver Public Schools