There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults. We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Chayla Turner | Cake Decorating Instructor and Manager at Mymakestudio

I’m form a small town in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a very help you neighbor type of place but it’s not the most creative place in the world. I have always marched to the beat of my own drum. This helped me be comfortable with standing out and doing things differently and against the norm. I was raised by a single mother. Watching her conquer life gave me the strength and attitude that I could do anything I set my mind to. Because of my upbringing and where I come I didn’t run form the opportunity to move to Denver, instead I embarrassed it and looked forward to the new adventure. My past has turned me into the confident successful cupcake queen that I am and I love that I get to help others with there creativity and passions! Read more>>

Alex Heffron | Jazz Guitarist

I grew up in Denver, and growing up in this city has been deeply impactful to my career and growth as an artist. From a young age a musician has numerous resources to draw from. There are so many incredible programs we have access to and that I was a part of, from School of Rock, Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts (CCJA), among others were some after school programs I was a part of, that made being a musician seem like a real possibility. Getting to perform at venues all over Colorado showed me what it is like to actually perform. Once I had experienced that, I couldn’t get enough. These programs we have in this city also help introduce musicians to others their age, as well as put them in contact with the best musicians in Colorado and around the world. I still play with people I met in these programs, peers and faculty. Read more>>

Nakoma Garcia | Licensed Professional Counselor

I was born and raised in rural Indiana My parents were agricultural farmers and spring, summer and fall usually meant they were gone long hours. I spent most of my time with my younger sister. We would spend hours in the woods, at the creek, riding 3wheelers and bikes, playing with animals and anything we could find to get through the days. We didn’t have horses at our farm growing up, but we had friends who did. I would go ride with them and I fell in love with one specific Arabian name Hakomi who taught me patience and peace. Later, We did get horses- actually 27 over the late teen years. I loved being able to go outside, groom and just be present with the horses. They offered me a lot of peace and grounding. I would ride for hours and become a new and refreshed person. Read more>>

Nathan Hindman | Photographer

I moved around a lot growing up because of my Dad’s job. I think having to settle in a new city and meet new friends helped me to be a bit more of an extrovert and relate to people better. But it also instilled a wanderlust in me that has made me love traveling. I’m very fortunate to have a job where I get to see so much of the world. Read more>>

Mike Baron | Writer

I grew up in South Dakota. One day I emerged from a cigar shop (I was about ten) holding a John D. MacDonald paperback which cost thirty-five cents. As I stood in the sidewalk looking at it (The Deep Blue Goodbye,) I realized that Mr. MacDonald didn’t write these for a hobby. He did this for a living. I decided I wanted to be a writer. I read voraciously. I haunted out public library and read all the great science fiction masters. Heinlein. Asimov. Clifford Simak. Andre Norton. A.E. Van Vogt. I had to get permission from my folks to check out Lolita. My desire to write did not take hold until I was in high school, in Madison, Wisconsin, when I started writing for the school paper. In college, I visited a friend who ran the underground newspaper Takeover. There were hundreds of LPs leaning against the wall. “Mark!” I said. “What’s with all these records?” “Oh, the record companies send them to us. Read more>>