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Points of Light Youth Summit: A Reflection

Posted By Abdihamid Mohamed, Thursday, July 4, 2019

Hey! Are you wondering what the Points of Light Foundation or POLF is? Well you came to the right place. The Points of Light Foundation is an international nonprofit organization that was founded by George H.W. Bush in 1990. The Points of Light headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia. It was designed to engage more people and resources in solving major issues through voluntary service. The Points of Light holds a conference every year that talks about this and more. This year’s Points of Light conference was held at the RiverCenter in St.Paul, MN. 

 

My role during the conference was to support the Youth Summit and NYLC’s facilitators, Anthony Le, Sayid Ali, and Maddy Wegner.  The Youth Summit was designed by NYLC to train and help five groups of young leaders enhance their leadership skills and then deliver pitches to adult mentors about a problem that they want to combat in their communities. Each group received a grant to address their issue area. The participants ranged in ages from 13-17 years old. All of these groups were from the state of Minnesota.

 

The teams included students from Linwood Monroe, ArtsUs, DCS, Anoka High School, and Coon Rapids High School. The problems that they wanted to combat were illiteracy, homlessness, helping empower women, and having more diversity. ArtsUs and Anoka High School each want to combat homelessness in their community. Anoka High School wants to address homelessness in their city of Anoka and destroy the stigma around people that are homeless. The team wants to spread awareness to Anoka residents, making sure people realize that homeless people are still people and that they deserve access to basic necessities like everyone else. ArtsUs also wants to combat homlessness but they want to spread awareness about the fact the most people who are homeless in the state of Minnesota are people of color.  Linwood Monroe is going to address illiteracy in their community by organizing a 5k run with all of the proceeds going to the Minnesota Literacy Council where they can give people with illiteracy the tools they need. The team from DCS wants to help kids all over the world feel empowered, specifically young girls and women in countries where they do not have equal opportunities like their male counterparts. The last team, Coon Rapids High School wants people to be aware of the many cultures that they have in their city. They want people in their community to get along, regardless of what background or “clique” they are in. They will hold cultural education events throughout the school year, highlighting the different cultures that they have in their city.

 

During the Youth Summit my job was to help NYLC’s trainers prepare each team for their pitches. All of them had amazing pitches and they all got an award. The ArtsUs got a grant of $1,500 for their creative pitch which included dancing and drumming. The rest of the teams each received $1,000 dollars to implement change in their communities. The creativity and passion of the Youth Summit participants is best represented by this poem written by Lorraine Wongbi from Anoka High School.

 

The American Dream

What is the American Dream?

A Dream that those outside are simply longing to live

They long to live

While some inside are trying to live

Living off the scraps of society 

Expressing and breathing anxiety

Judgement. Why are we so quick to judge the homeless

Why are we so quick to hate, spit rage, disgrace and blame the less fortunate

Man... just imagine being homeless 

Just imagine having to worry about your next move

Praying to even see food 

Wanting to see the good in humanity 

While slowly just losing your sanity

Now look... we all just need to care for another

We all need to stop acting like those who are homeless are a societal bother 

I mean we are all human at the end of the day 

So might as well help those less fortunate to find another way.

~Lorraine Wongbi


The entire conference was amazing and I got to meet such wonderful people.   I hope to meet even more amazing people in future trainings with NYLC.


Tags:  civic action  youth advisory council  youth leadership  youth voice 

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Join the Youth Advisory Council

Posted By NYLC, Friday, March 29, 2019

(This article was originally posted on December 27, 2019 on nylc.org.)

For 35 years, the National Youth Leadership Council has tapped into the passion, creativity, and ingenuity of all young people to make meaningful change happen. Our Youth Advisory Council is a team of servant-leaders dedicated to promoting youth leadership, service-learning, and education equity. By providing valuable perspectives to inform NYLC programming, including Teen Driver Safety, Education Equity, and Youth Leadership, YAC members contribute to the success of NYLC in reaching our mission to create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world with young people, their schools, and their communities through service-learning.

YAC work alongside NYLC staff at the National Service-Learning Conference® and present various youth leadership workshops and trainings across the country. As a Youth Advisory Council member, YAC have an opportunity to use their talents and strengths to help NYLC develop young leaders. Together, we are leading the way to address real world issues with all young people, inspiring them to Serve. Learn. Change the world.®

Join the next generation of youth leaders by submitting your application by January 26, 2019!

Learn more and apply today!

Tags:  education equity  teen driver safety  Youth Advisory Council  youth leadership  youth leadership development  youth voice 

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Unleashing My Voice and Becoming an Advocate: A Story of Success, Failure, and Lessons Learned

Posted By NYLC, Friday, June 1, 2018
Updated: Saturday, August 4, 2018

by Ricky Yoo, Youth Advisory Council member

By listening and working with young people, we can get closer to creating the conditions that all young people need to have a real chance to succeed in school and life.

-John Gompert, President and CEO of America’s Promise Alliance

“You, French Fry. Me, Hamburger,” I proclaimed to my pre-K teacher. She gawked at me with awe. I stared blankly at her as she started to jump and holler, “Ricky! Yes! You, French Fry. Me, Hamburger!” I was stunned, and she, elated.

It was the first time I spoke a complete phrase to my teacher.

As a timid, young boy, my English was elementary and my social skills, even worse. Thus, I spent my words wisely, to persuade teachers to bring me food or request a toy of my choice from the treasure box. But much to the disappointment to me and my peers, my voice would remain buried throughout my adolescence.

Like many pre-teens, I struggled with social anxiety, and I secluded myself. My thoughts were dear to me and my own, and it would remain this way until my freshmen year of high school.

My voice came from humble origins – the bathroom mirror. While my mother disapproved of my loud orations, a toothbrush, a half-spent bar of soap, the allegedly tropical scent of hand wash, were all a familiar audience. Unfortunately, the congeniality of my toiletries starkly contrasted with the judgemental remarks of my classmates. Their mockery, I tolerated, but my feelings of inadequacy, I did not. With hours of practice and deliberation, the stuttering and mumbles were replaced with ferocity and power. Like the budding of a new relationship, I grew a fondness for public speaking. This would leak into different facets of my life.

I developed confidence in my role as a leader as more people began to listen to my voice. My inhibitions dissolved, and my social exposure procured an interest in leadership. The strength of my voice directly correlated with my ability to captivate my teammates, and, indirectly, manage them as well. Workshop and speaking engagement opportunities arose, and, with microphone in hand, I intended to advocate for youth voice.

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Tags:  afterschool  featured  Tags afterschool  Youth Advisory Council  youth leadership  youth voice  Youth4Education 

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