Cory Notestine believes that one person can change the world — through improving the life of a child.

Currently a counseling facilitator in Colorado Springs School District 11, Notestine wasn’t sure what he wanted to do immediately after graduating from college with a degree in psychology. He started working at a behavioral health hospital, and then realized there was a place he could make a lasting impact on at-risk kids: schools.

“I found that the kids who were coming to the hospital were only there for a short period of time, and I couldn’t make that much of an impact,” he said. “I wanted to help prepare kids for the future.”

Notestine moved to Colorado Springs with his wife, a UCCS instructor, in the fall of 2015. Since then, he has made a big difference in District 11. He oversees the Colorado School Counseling Corps Grant for D-11, designs comprehensive school counseling services programming for K-12 schools and focuses on professional development in social and emotional well-being for all students. Notestine has also created a school counseling advisory group that includes community members.

His leadership and advocacy efforts are exemplary, said Dan Hoff, executive director of alternative and nontraditional schools for D-11.

“I would challenge you to find a more passionate person about their daily work,” he said. “Cory is a leader at the local, state and national level for school counseling.”

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Notestine said his primary focus is helping to prepare students to thrive after high school and develop essential skills like teamwork, resilience and decision-making. Career placement is a big part of his efforts.

“We’re getting more students to have access to college with financial aid, completing the FAFSA and their college applications,” he said.

He’s also an advocate for the mental well-being of students and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community within his schools.

“I want to address how we help students with mental health needs and make them feel they have someone to talk to and support them throughout their day,” he said.

Notestine has specifically been advocating for equal rights for LGBT students.

“We try to take a look at major issues kids are facing and what we can do to fight to make sure students have equal [rights],” he said.

Notestine’s advocacy efforts are making a significant impact on the community as well. He supports Lambda Legal, Planned Parenthood and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, among others.

“Every story is unique,” he said. “Everyone’s story has its own unique challenges.”

And his efforts have paid off, Hoff said.

“Cory’s collaborative personality is creating a groundswell of interconnected services to meet behavioral needs from young children to adults,” said Hoff. “He wants to base social/emotional needs of our population with a broader perspective than what just resides inside an organization’s culture.”