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Emmy-Worthy Impact: State of Colorado’s Stories of Connection Campaign Earns Heartland Emmy®

July 27, 2023

Research shows that connection is an important factor in protecting youth from numerous health challenges, including poor mental health and negative behaviors related to substance use, sexual health, and violence.

According to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), youth who have a parent, guardian or other trusted adult they can talk with are less likely to use marijuana, vape or experience feelings of depression.

That impact makes it especially rewarding that the Stories of Connection campaign we created in partnership with CDPHE won a Heartland Emmy® Award.

The winning ad, called “Christine”, introduces us to a mother in Fort Collins, Colorado, who opens her heart to her transgender daughter, Sahara. Through Christine’s emotional journey of acceptance and understanding, viewers gain valuable insights into navigating the complexities of parental relationships with changing children. Her heartfelt advice serves as a beacon of support for other parents facing similar experiences.

It’s part of the State of Colorado’s Forward Together initiative, which provides actionable information and resources to help adults better connect with youth and to help teens develop healthy relationships with their peers.

This Heartland Emmy® is a testament to the campaign’s collaborative approach and dedication to amplifying Coloradans’ important stories about fostering connections with young people in their lives.

Our team believes the most powerful stories are those shared by the people who have lived them. So, we partnered with parents, mentors, educators, and other trusted adults who have played pivotal roles in the lives of young people. Through in-depth interviews and open-ended discussions, we discovered the beautiful intricacies of these relationships and the transformative impact they have on the lives of youth in Colorado.

To ensure these stories were brought to life with care and creativity, we teamed up with our exceptional video production partner, Lumenati. Lumenati’s expertise in video storytelling captured the raw emotion and authenticity of each story.

The result? A collection of powerful and emotionally resonant TV spots that tugged at the heartstrings of audiences.

The Heartland Emmy® Award wouldn’t have been possible without the passion and dedication of everyone who contributed to this campaign. We are immensely grateful to the Coloradans who bravely shared their stories and trusted us to amplify their voices.

We believe that stories have the power to connect us all, and it’s our privilege to be part of the journey toward a more connected and empathetic world.

We extend our deepest gratitude to CDPHE for entrusting us with this important campaign, and to Lumenati for their exceptional collaboration. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of many young people, and this Heartland Emmy® serves as a symbol of the positive change that can be achieved through the power of storytelling.

Watch the other Forward Together campaign ads here and explore the campaign at