“I’ve been looking for a platform to help other teens for a while. I mentioned to my guidance counselor that I wanted to start a club at the high school, but it was too big of an idea and too delicate of a topic for one student to tackle.”
At Outreach Teen & Family Services, we believe in tackling big ideas! Our commitment to listening to the voices of youth led to the creation of the Youth Advocacy Committee. This group is intended to be a peer-to-peer resource for teens who are passionate about promoting mental health and wellness. When teens share their stories, they deeply impact the work of the agency, our board and staff.
Teens chosen for this committee must complete a rigorous application process. The students come from various school
districts and backgrounds. Two members, having graduated high school, are either
taking a gap year or are starting undergraduate studies.
Committee members have the unique opportunity to make a difference in their community by being mental health and wellness advocates, sharing pertinent information about Outreach’s services and programs to peers and other stakeholders. We encourage YAC members to host our youth-led podcast, Teens Tap In; learn leadership skills by serving as a junior board member; affect legislation pertaining to mental health; and use their voices to help normalize mental health, reducing its stigma.
Each member has a personal connection to mental health. This connection motivates and inspires them to want to use their voices. One YAC member elaborates on the importance of having such a group:
“I want to be a member of the Youth Advocacy Committee because I believe that the voice of our youth is often overlooked or dismissed. The Youth Advocacy Committee gives youth a chance to make their voice heard. Many people around my age want to make a change, but there are not many options for us to do so. I think that if I was a member of the Youth Advocacy program I would capitalize on the outlet, and make sure that I could help other teens have their voices not only heard but amplified.”
Throughout the year, school districts, community members and parents should expect to see the Youth Advocacy Committee in action. The committee’s three subcommittees of leadership, marketing, and advocacy will make real and lasting changes in the communities that Outreach serves.
At Outreach, we believe in helping our youth, teens, and families navigate the typical challenges faced throughout their lives. We believe that teens have unique insight and influence to facilitate meaningful conversations with their peers; healing can only begin once we know we are heard.
It is not too late to still apply! If interested in participating as a member of our YAC, please apply online at www.outreachteen.org, under Educational Programs. We will be accepting applications until the end of December with selected candidates being contacted for an interview.
This group is committed to making a difference in destigmatizing mental health and normalizing the challenges of being a teenager! Join us!