“You Matter” – the message is simple, yet powerful, and one that high school students don’t hear often enough. With more Maine children living in poverty than before the recession, and 82,000 children living in households where their parents lack secure employment, the message that they matter is often lost and replaced with worries about shelter, food, and money.
In a recent survey of high school students in southern Kennebec county, only 50 percent of all surveyed students felt that they mattered to their community, and 25 percent reported feeling sad or hopeless. Telling our children that they matter is an important way to help them avoid substance misuse to ease their fears, insecurities, and troubles.
To Learn More About Youth Taking Action
Kevin Carter: District Youth Coordinator
Email: [email protected]
Office: (207) 588-5351
Youth Taking Action
The Central District Youth Coordinator co-facilitates Youth Taking Action groups in various middle and high schools in Kennebec/Somerset counties, where students plan how they’d like to take action in their communities. These include, but are not limited to- Gay/Straight/Trans Alliances, Teen Advisory Boards, and other youth groups. This provides youth the opportunity to:
- Form meaningful relationships with peers and adults.
- Pursue leadership opportunities.
- Build resilience.
- Improve the academic environment.
- Address community needs.
Youth Policy Board
The Central District Youth Coordinator facilitates a Youth Policy Board. The Youth Policy Board curriculum was developed by Maine Youth Action Network and is geared towards high school students. The goal of the Youth Policy Board is to tackle challenges happening in the community; substance use, bullying/harassment, lack of access to health care, etc. These students will:
- Work over a 1-2 year period to investigate an issue they are affected by.
- Brainstorm solutions on how to solve the issue.
- Learn to draft these solutions into policy to present to local legislators or other relevant stakeholders.
Those closest to the problem are often closest to the solution, and through this participatory research, youth are able to make their voice heard and think critically about the world around them.