YAC is Back!
One of the founding members of the Youth Advisory Club (YAC) said that “Youth Voice only goes as far as Adult Action.” When BEST Kids started the YAC we wanted to allow the youth in the program to have a seat at the table where decisions were being made about them. One thing about youth groups such as YAC they provide comradery and companionship for the youth that are involved. This is an essential piece to helping the development for youth that are in foster care. It provides them an opportunity to create some stability and extended family of their own.
The first cohort of the YAC was able to accomplish things that had never been done in BEST Kids. They created a documentary highlighting the importance of mentoring and how it has impacted their lives. They also held a youth led training that allowed youth in the program to teach adults how to be better mentors.
After taking a year hiatus YAC is back and ready to make our program even better. We are excited to have the YAC back because we will be able to learn and grow all together.
The new youth bring a different type of energy. Each youth went through an interview process where they were asked the same questions. The one question that truly highlighted the resilience of the youth in our program was “please share a time when you had to handle a difficult situation.”
The responses we got for this question were tearjerkers. One youth shared that she had experienced something with her birth mom and her mentor was the only person who had listened to her, and helped her to ease back to a calm state of mind. Another youth shared about how he had to overcome his fear of reading out loud in class. Due to his disability he often got embarrassed but realized that he had to be brave and now he does not hesitate to speak up when he gets a chance to.
The youth in our program have distinctive stories and it is up to us to provide them the platform to highlight their lives. Each youth in YAC is considered to be a Youth Advocate because they are advocating on behalf of all the other youth in our program. The youth in YAC will be learning about professionalism, money management, time management, email etiquette, and the list varies. While they are learning they will potentially be teaching some of these things to other youth in our program.
Here at BEST Kids we want to always remind our youth about the power they have. We will support their efforts, and push them as far as they want to go. We believe that exposure is the key to helping our youth excel to new heights. We will be needing help from others to help expand the paradigm of our members so that they can truly reach their full potential.
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