Student leaders commit to improving their schools
This year, we facilitated a record-breaking eight Youth Frontiers Leadership Conferences (YFLC)! During the course of these conferences, hundreds of students from diverse backgrounds, geographic regions and academic settings gathered to acknowledge their ability to lead their schools and improve their communities. We held two YFLCs in the Twin Cities, Minn., two in Omaha, Neb., two in Milwaukee, Wis., one in Manitowoc, Wisc. and one in Green Bay, Wisc. We were inspired by the students’ commitments to making their schools better places, and we wanted to share some of them with you.
“The piece I accept responsibility for is making sure that everyone feels heard and understood. I feel like people are often too afraid to step out and tell their story. I will approach my school’s administration and put together a monthly assembly where people can come and share their life stories. [I want students to] feel safe in sharing their opinions, and I want them to feel heard.”
“I’m accepting responsibility for the hunger at my school. We don’t have a lunch program, so every day some people have to go the entire day without having anything to eat. Food is so important – without it, you can’t focus. My plan is to reach out to local businesses. For example, we have a Brueggers right down the street from our school. I will reach out to them and see if all the bagels that they throw away every day could be donated. Not only would it be good PR for them, but it would also help all of the students do better.”
“The piece I accept responsibility for is helping people get noticed for their actions. Here’s how I will act on it: At my work, we have a bulletin board in the break room where you can write a person’s name who did something good that day and say thank you. I will start that at our school.”
“I know not everyone at my school feels like they have friends. I read an article on Valentine’s Day about this kid from Ohio who put signs on everyone’s lockers that said, ‘You are loved’ or ‘Someone cares about you.’ I want to do that. I will put signs on people’s lockers that say things like, ‘Hey, people care about you. You matter.’”
“The piece I accept responsibility for is building cultural awareness and ending stereotypes. I will speak with my school’s administration and help create a ‘mix-it-up’ lunch day where you meet new people and sit at different lunch tables. I will also help people learn about other cultures and people through announcements we have at school.”
“The piece I accept responsibility for is violence. Here’s how I will act on it. I will host a peace rally and make t-shirts that say, ‘Stop the violence.’”
“The piece I accept responsibility for is the hostility I see going on in our school. Here’s how I will act on it: I will speak up when I see hostility happening and make a poster campaign that rejects discrimination and encourages others to speak up when they see it happening.”
“The piece I accept responsibility for is to be understanding of those affected by mental health or poor mental health. I will create an organization at our school that supports those with mental illnesses and those who struggle to find a place in this world.”
“I want to get different clubs to start accepting and appreciating one another. Once a month, we can get some club exchanges happening – maybe the basketball players can go to art club and the theater people can play some tennis and then we can start appreciating one another [better].”
“The piece that I accept responsibility for is to raise awareness for mental health. This past year we lost one of many favorite people probably in our high school to suicide and I just want to make everybody aware that you can speak up and it’s okay to do something about it.”
We were so inspired by the student leaders who attended this year’s Youth Frontiers Leadership Conferences. We send a special thank you to all who participated and to the generous sponsors who helped make it all happen.