Greenway Raiders are known for showing PRIDE and having a passion for their school across the community. Two of GHS’s eighth graders are taking that PRIDE to another level; by making their voices heard across Minnesota and by the Minnesota State legislature. Hannah Erickson and Baylie Norris were selected to fill two open seats in Congressional District 8 for the Minnesota Youth Council (MYC).The MYC is a legislatively mandated group of young people from all over the state of Minnesota who advise the state government on legislation.
In 2013, the Minnesota Legislature formally recognized the work of the MYC, passing into law the Minnesota Youth Council Committee Bill, which establishes the MYC as a voice for youth to provide advice and recommendations to the legislature and the governor on issues affecting youth and to serve as a liaison for youth around the state to the legislature and the governor. The MYC focuses on youth voice, and giving young people the opportunity to make change. The Minnesota Youth Council opportunity was brought to Greenway High School through the 2016-2017 Promise Fellow, Kayla Schubert, who will serve as the Adult Partner for both Council Members.
“With the support of their teachers, these two motivated students are going above and beyond to represent the voices of youth in the District 8 region,” said Schubert, “They both have issues that they are passionate about and desire to be lead efforts to bring change for our communities.” Both students have chosen to participate on the Community Outreach and Development Committee and will meet virtually with 12 other students around the state bimonthly. Hannah Erickson, who is particularly looking forward to creating relationships with other youth from around Minnesota, said “I’m really excited to have this opportunity. I think it will be a really great experience for personal growth and it will give me a chance to branch out of my more rural community.”
Students were required to write multiple statements essays for their applications and to Erickson and Norris, regional community health and equity were top priorities. “If you show equity it doesn’t just mean you act the part, but you show it in your actions …” Norris wrote in her essay to the Council. GHS Principal Jeff Britten said, “It is an honor to have the opportunity to have two youth on this committee and yet another experience that they will be able to use as a platform for student voice and hone their leadership abilities … both of these students are great representatives for Greenway high school.”.
The students have begun their orientation to their term, which will continue through the summer, and will attend their first retreat along with other Youth Council members across the state in January. Over the year youth members will become equipped with the critical thinking, public speaking and leadership skills necessary to act as representatives of youth and change agents in their communities and across the state. United Way of 1000 Lakes is part of the partnership with Greenway High School that makes programs like these available to youth and educators in our community.
For more information about the MYC visit: mnyouth.net/work/council/
About the Promise Fellow Program:
AmeriCorps Promise Fellows help ensure youth success by connecting young people to caring adults, service-learning opportunities, and high quality academic supports. Using an array of research-based approaches, they track attendance, monitor behaviors, and support academic growth. Through this evidence-based model, Promise Fellows are able to provide the right support to the right youth at the right time for the right intensity and duration.
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