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National Advocacy Days 2019

Last week, two of our Texas YG students visited Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of the YMCA. We are proud to share that Diomarvellous Nsofor (Houston) and Grayson Winchester (Ft. Worth) represented Texas in this opportunity! They spent several days sharing their passions through advocacy and civic engagement at a national level.

Each year, Youth and Government programs across the nation participate in Y-USA’s National Advocacy Days. Youth Advocates meet with legislators to discuss Y-USA’s legislative priorities. This year, Diomarvellous and Grayson advocated for funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which create academic enrichment opportunities for school-aged children, and support for drowning prevention campaigns across the nation.

Diomarvellous and Grayson met with the offices of six Representatives during their experience in Washington D.C. – Rep. Dan Crenshaw (Texas’s 2nd congressional district), Rep. Pete Olson (Texas’s 22nd congressional district), Rep. Joaquin Castro (Texas’s 20th congressional district), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas’s 18th congressional district), Rep. Sylvia Garcia (Texas’s 29th congressional district), and Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas’s 10th congressional district). They also had the opportunity to present Rep. Colin Allred (Texas’s 32nd congressional district) with the Congressional Champion award. This award is presented to legislators who are committed to the Y’s areas of focus of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Additionally, they engaged with Angela Castilleja, Texas YG State Director, David Lopez, YMCA of Greater Houston and Texas State Alliances of YMCAs, Marie Arcos, YMCA of Greater Houston, and Jess Stuart, Community Development Executive of YMCA of Greater Houston. When they were not meeting with legislators, students participated in round table discussions and workshops with Youth Advocates from across the country. We’re so proud of Diomarvellous and Grayson’s efforts in Capitol Hill!

Grayson and Dio presenting the Congressional Champion award to Rep. Colin Allred

Our Youth Advocates preparing to meet with Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s office

Meeting with the office of Rep. Joaquin Castro

Rep. Olson made Dio and Grayson pinky promise they would never run against him for office

 

2019-03-11T14:11:36-05:00March 11th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Introducing Your 2019-2020 Youth Governors

Introducing your new YG and JYG Youth Governors, YG students elected them during the State Conference this year. Look below to read about them!

High School Youth Governor

Tadiwa Mujokoto

What was your experience as a Governor Candidate during the State Conference like?

Being a Governor Candidate was such an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to learn about and witness what happens in each program section. I have spent all of my years in the legislative section, so it was very exciting to get a better understanding of what occurs in each section. During the course of the weekend, I met so many different people, which was exciting but also nerve-wracking because I can be very shy, but that’s what this program is all about. We are learning how to step out of our comfort zones. Something that shocked me most about being a candidate was the amount of free time that I had.I have gotten used to being busy from the beginning of the day to the end of the day, so it felt strange having so much time for ourselves,  Having so much time gave me the chance to actually meet and get to know my fellow delegates. Also, it was a great experience to run against some of the brightest and determined people that I have ever met. I am glad to have had the chance to meet such passionate and driven people.

What most excites you about the platform you ran on?

I am most excited that my fellow delegates chose a candidate who believes in the power that they hold. My platform was based on making sure that every delegate realizes their potential to make a difference right now, rather than waiting until the future to get involved. With the way the world is changing and evolving, the youth need someone who believes in them and wants to empower them.  the fact that I am a female was not the main focus of my campaign. I believe that the delegates who participate in this program were ready for a big change. After almost 10 years without a female Youth Governor,  I definitely believe that this election opened the door for other women in the program who would like to run for office in the future.

What are some key policies you would like to highlight during your term as Governor?

As governor, my ultimate goal is to help my fellow delegates to realize that every one of us has the power to make a change today, but it is up to each of us to use that power and get involved.   The best way to enhance this program is to start from the ground up. During my term, I will work to start Youth and Government summer camps for students who are new to the program and those who are returning. This will give students an opportunity to learn about the program before the official start in the fall and it will allow students to have an easier transition between each program section. Secondly, I would like to reinstate the Youth Commission section. The Youth Commission provides delegates the chance to experience each section allowing them a chance to really learn what section would best suit their individual talents and needs. Lastly, I am looking into securing funding for a scholarship awared to two seniors in each program section who have shown exemplary participation and exhibit the YMCA’s core values of respect, responsibility, honesty and caring.

During my term, I want to sign bills that focus on the well-being of Texas Citizens. It is important to me to sign bills that will keep Texas Police officers safe and accountable by requiring officers to patrol in a buddy system and wear body cameras while on duty. Laws like these will keep officers safe by ensuring that they have back up and it will keep them accountable because their action on duty will be monitored. Also, legislation that ends the privatization of prisons and that promotes the rehabilitation of prisoners rather than the punishment of prisoners.

How long have you been with YG? What is your favorite moment in YG?

I have been in Youth and Government since I was in seventh grade. My school’s Youth and Government starts in seventh grade. So, I had to wait a year before joining. It turned out to be the best wait of my life.  That was when I discovered my love for learning how our government functions. I’ve loved every minute of my time in the program.

It is very hard to pick just one favorite memory during my time in Youth and Government. My absolute favorite memory actually is not just one event, but it was my experience at this year’s State Conference. In the past, I have always been busy debating and running around the State Capital, but this was the first time that I was able to meet and connect with delegates in each program section. I gained a deeper understanding of why each section is just as important as the next. This year I also made more friends than I ever had because I the time to get to know the people outside of my section. Once I was elected, a number of my fellow delegates expressed that they felt as though they finally had representation within the program and that their voices would be heard. I am honored to have the opportunity to represent those who have felt overlooked within Youth and Government.

 Do you have any advice for other delegates?

The most important piece of advice that I could give to my fellow delegates is to get involved. Not only are we the leaders of tomorrow, we are also the leaders of today. We all possess the potential to have a lasting impact in the world. Find what drives you and put your all into it. Whether it be Youth and Government, sports, or fine arts, you can not make a difference without being passionately involved. Also, go into everything with an open mind. Despite your race, background, or beliefs there is something that can be learned from everyone.

Thank you for sharing Tadiwa!

 

Middle School Youth Governor

Diya Hegde 

What was your experience as a Governor Candidate during the State Conference like?

My experience was very enjoyable. I liked meeting new people, making new friends, and getting to know many of them. I really enjoyed going from section to section and watching these delegates debate. I learned a lot from the delegates this year.

What most excites you about the platform you ran on?

My platform points are recruiting more advisors, expanding smaller delegations, and assisting underprivileged people financially so that they could come to the State Conference. I am passionate about my third platform because we can give delegates an opportunity to experience something as great as the State Conference. Also, by recruiting more advisors and expanding smaller delegations, we are developing future leaders across the state.

What are some key policies you would like to highlight during your term as Governor?

Improving overall health and wellness (Mental & Physical), Improving the Education System, Measures Against Gun Violence, Criminal Justice, and Improving Texas’ Infrastructure. These are all the policies that I feel could be improved with the help of some well-thought out and effective bills.

How long have you been in YG? What is your favorite moment in YG?

I have been in the YG program since 6th grade. Last year, as a sixth grader, I was a bit anxious and didn’t know what to expect before my first competition. This year, I mentored and helped out 6th graders so that they could feel more confident about themselves. My favorite moment in YG is when I saw their faces light up whenever they won an award at the conferences.

Do you have any advice for other delegates?

Make sure you always give your 100%. This is a great opportunity to develop your public speaking skills. Maintain good body language throughout the conferences and let your voice spread across the room. Vocal inflection is important when trying to persuade people to vote for your bills and proposals. And most importantly, make friends and have fun!

Thank you for sharing Diya!

 

We’re so excited to see what you both accomplish during your term as Governor!

 

 

2019-03-06T12:53:45-06:00March 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments