As my time here with MCCOY dwindles, I find myself thinking about the things that we have done in my Americorps VISTA service year with this amazing organization. We have successfully motivated a group of professional volunteers, held some events, and devised a public awareness campaign around the importance of raising high school graduation rates. BUT, more often than those things, I think about the ways in which this work can continue after my experience with MCCOY has come to an end. Nothing and no one can keep this effort going strong like the very people we strive to impact, the students in Marion County.
With this in mind, we have been in talks in the past couple of months about creating a Youth Advocacy Council to help direct the organization’s efforts in the future and advocate for youth by youth. Then, as though timing could not be more perfect, our Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Mindi, stumbled upon the fact that President Obama’s Youth Team has asked that 100 Youth Roundtables be held in communities around the nation. What an amazing opportunity! We can host a Presidential roundtable, give our city’s youth a voice in Washington, and identify potential candidates for our own Youth Advocacy Council all with the same event. Talk about 2 birds, 1 stone. To read more about the president’s plan, please visit www.whitehouse.gov/youngamericans
So, with generous donations and support from The Lumina Foundation for Education and Chipotle Mexican Grill, we are planning on conducting our first youth roundtable, REAL TALK: A Roundtable Discussion with Young Adults in Indianapolis on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at the United Way Building, RCI Room from 11am-1pm. The cost for youth to attend is FREE and they will also recieve FREE LUNCH from Chipotle and the chance to win raffle prizes! Not to mention the empowering experience of voicing their opinion on youth issues, helping to build solutions, and having a group of dedicated professionals listen and take notes!
I am so excited for this event. I am a true believer in youth voice and the potential that this event and the formation of the YAC has within MCCOY. We all want the best for our city’s youth, we all want to be involved in positive change in education and other youth issues, and involving young people in these solutions is VITAL to that success. I’m honored to be a part of an organization like MCCOY that realizes that these young people must have a say in how we do our work. Besides, who knows what works for young people better than young people!!
If you are or know of any young adults in Marion County who would like to participate in this roundtable event, PLEASE CONTACT ME at 317-921-1230 or visit http://www.rsvpbook.com/event.php?473135 to register. Please note, all participants under the age of 18 will need to print off the permission slip, have their parent/guardian sign it, and bring it with them the day of the event.