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.

Dynelle Abeyta | Pour Paint Artist & Professional

I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Pueblo, Co. I come from a very hardworking family and parents who are second to none. They are the type who will give you the shirt off their back, their very last dollar, welcome you and make their home yours, give you tons of leftover food and won’t take no for an answer, and the type that just does whatever they can to help. But I have learned a great deal about work ethic, kindness, strength, and how to laugh and smile through the many twists that life brings through them. They have taught me so much but most importantly to just be a genuine person and that I can do anything and be anything I want to be. I’ve always had an incredible support system, between family and friends, peers, teachers, etc., and for that, I am truly grateful because I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without them. Read more>>

Nikki Molina | Blogger and Marketer

I’m originally from Akron, Ohio and migrated to Colorado 7 years ago. I’ve always loved being outdoors, getting dirty and making things with my hands. Growing up on a dead-end street surrounded by woods allowed me to have the freedom to explore my small slice of nature. The neighborhood kids always came to our yard to play kickball and me and my siblings were constantly climbing trees, playing some ball, or walking the few backyards to get to grandma and grandpa’s house for candy. I had a wonderful childhood that revolved around activities, adventure, outdoors, trees, playing, fun, and laughter. My parents were hard workers who implanted many important values that have made me who I am today. Three values in particular shaped me as a person and led to the theme of my blog, The Sunshine Hustle – positivity, humor, and kindness. Read more>>

Sophie Pappas | Mortgage Loan Officer

I am actually from Denver, one of the few natives left! And when I say Denver, I truthfully mean 80210, not a suburb. Growing up the daughter of two small business owners formed me into a very self motivated and self reliant person. I was raised to put education, community, and creativity at the forefront of everything. There are two lessons my parents taught me that I still hold onto. The first, is that when interacting with anyone I must consider their back story. My dad told me that if you want to know why someone acts the way they do, you should learn about their past. This has helped me approach people with kindness and focus on forgiveness throughout my life. The other lesson, is that the bottom line of being human, is helping others. Growing up I had several family members live with us, watched my parents pick up the tab at dinners for our friends, and never heard them say no when they were asked a favor. Read more>>

Brent Helleckson | Farmer, Winemaker, Aerospace Engineer

I am originally from a small farm in west central Minnesota. Working the farm with my grandfather and working construction with my father instilled a respect for the value of hard work. It also taught me to take smart risks and work to make them successful opportunities. I also grew up seeing the importance of living within a community, working with that community to accomplish shared goals, and giving back to that community. Read more>>

Tessa Ringlein | Photographer

The face and creator behind R + T Photography. I am just a girl who loves hard, eats way too much chocolate, and is completely fascinated with learning about, well, everything. I am a proud Mama to my sweet boy and enjoy going on runs with my fur baby, Sophie Grace. My journey began when I was just eight years old from a small town in Northeastern Colorado. Photography has been apart of my family for as long as I can remember. I grew up playing with my grandfather’s old cameras and film. Growing up on the farm, I was raised with a, “don’t give up”, kind of attitude and that same attitude has really been the backbone of my career. I can’t count the hours I’ve played with my camera so I can effectively achieve my creative visions during my sessions. There’s many long days and late nights but I absolutely love doing what I do. Read more>>

Jane Hunt | Landscape painter and instructor

I’ve resided in Colorado for the last 25 years but I was born, and grew up in, England. I lived only a few miles from the Tate Gallery in London and I spent my formative years in various art museums, particularly in London and Paris. By my teens we had moved to America and at that point I’d also moved cross-Atlantic three times. It was unsettling and I was extremely homesick. I attended art school in Cleveland, Ohio and became an illustrator… although all I really wanted to do was paint. When I finally could become a full-time painter I created landscapes that addressed the sense of homesickness I’ve always felt. Their intention is to bring comfort and connectedness… universal emotions we all crave. My greatest goal is to create landscapes that bring a sense of ‘home’ to the viewer. Read more>>