Purpose: To engage youth from across school districts to improve health and well-being in their schools and community.
Here are a few highlighted projects going on this school year (2013-14):
River Ridge is just joining the program, so they're starting by building their team and finding an advisor.
Black Hills and Tumwater High Schools are teaming up to address marijuana use and promote unity across the schools.
Yelm is partnering with TOGETHER! to highlight Social Norms messaging (teaching students that MOST of their peers make healthy decisions)
Rainier High School is offering help to the Voices of Youth Support Council.
Olympia High School is working to address the climate of their school to include building meaning into their school experience.
Tenino is still finalizing their options, but their biggest interest is in building better communication between students and school officials.
Last Year's Successes
Black Hills HS: Hydration. The students created a reusable bottle (pictured) and sold them to raise money to install a filtered water bottle refilling station.
Olympia HS: Bullying. The OHS group hosted a lot of “unity” events all year to pull students together, celebrate their diversity and address bullying.
Rainier HS: Hygiene. The group talks to classes about proper hygiene. They also started a product drive so kids can get toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, etc., if they need it.
Yelm HS: Student substance use. They put up Social Norms posters in their school, and handed out keychains at prom with an anti-underage drinking message on them.
South Sound High School’s project this year was supporting Voices of Youth as a whole!
Tumwater HS: Bullying. The group held an assembly on bullying and urged their classmates to sign a pledge to ask themselves before posting anything: Does it harm anyone? A “Pause before You Post” section was also put in the student handbook.
Rochester HS: Healthy eating. They installed a healthy-food vending machine, which has been very popular.
The Voices of Youth program uses a youth-adult power-sharing model, partnering youth and adults in the community to identify barriers to student health, wellness and academic success.
Students from many Western Washington high schools work with elected officials, teachers, school administrators, and nonprofit and government leaders to determine what the community needs, then create and act on youth-driven solutions to key issues that affect academic success. Some of these issues are substance abuse, poverty, mental and emotional health, nutrition and obesity, and more.
What do teens say
about their experience in Voices of Youth?
Youth and Adults--Working Together!
Voices of Youth believes youth are the key to solving the big issues of today. Be it climate change, bullying, youth suicide or poverty, adults partner with youth to tackle the issues they care about most. Our program creates a youth/adult learning community!
How does the partnership work?
Adult leaders in our community have made a commitment to listen and act with youth on health projects. Adult leaders have co-led assemblies, summits and presentations with youth this year. Youth planned the content for Voices of Youth summits and even co-wrote grants with adult staff for their projects.
Next Voices of Youth Training Summit: Feb. 27, 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Boys & Girls Club of Tumwater.
Next Support Council meetings (open to anyone--come check it out if you're interested in joining!):
* Feb. 10, 3-5 p.m., TOGETHER!
* Apr. 15, 3-5 p.m., TOGETHER!
Your School's Voice
Students: Do you want to join Voices of Youth? We're always looking for high school students who want to join in!
Teachers/Counselors: Do you want to see this program at your school?