When it comes to making a difference, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware Youth Advocacy Team knows how to make things happen. Over the course of six months, this awe-inspiring group of young people were able to engage state and local lawmakers on the issues that mattered most to them, raising awareness and taking a stand. “Now is the time to do something” youth advocate Angelina says.
The 26 youth advocates came together in September, meeting weekly to learn about advocacy as it relates to social justice and civic engagement after attending a Boys & Girls Clubs of America webinar. Following the Think, Learn and Act strategy, the students worked to gain knowledge and advocate for solutions to create change. Each student advocate chose a topic that meant something to them personally including mental health, Black Lives Matter, human trafficking and their school curriculum. To launch the program, students worked on projects to educate others on their respective issues.
Through the experience, students faced a variety of challenges as they entered into the world of advocacy for the first time. Focusing their attention on the learning process, the team looks at this experience as a stepping stone for future endeavors. Having now learned the procedures associated with passing legislation, the teens are equipped with the knowledge it takes to implement change. After months of preparations and hard work, the students held community awareness events as well as a teen town hall with Senator Chris Coons to discuss the key issues that face Delaware’s youth today.
At the end of the program, students participated in a video discussing their ideas and motivating others to take action. “It’s important to find ways to help one another” Zircon declares in the video. Funded through a Boys & Girls Clubs of America grant made possible by Amazon, the youth advocacy program equipped students to effectively implement change in the future.