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So far Angela Castilleja has created 91 blog entries.

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!

 

 

2019-03-06T12:53:45-05:00March 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Reporting from the 2019 JYG State Conference

We are so excited Roslyn Ramon, our 2019 YG Social Media Editor, is able to attend our Middle School Conference! She has prepared a blog post for you regarding our JYG Middle School Conference.

“You look at everyone now and you think, ‘these middle school delegates are the future leaders’. You see how much stress, thought, and time everyone has put into their section. You wonder, ‘is it worth it?’ The truth is yes. Yes it’s worth it. These delegates don’t have to do what they are doing, but these young and future leaders understand that if you work hard now, life will only be a walk in the park. They and everyone around them want the future to not only be exceptional, but to be amazing. This all goes to show at the 2019 JYG State Conference in Austin, Texas.”

2019-02-23T20:24:03-05:00February 23rd, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Meet Your New YG Intern

 

Meet Britney Butler, your new Youth and Government intern. Britney is a Senior at Texas State University majoring in Public Relations Mass Communications, and minoring in Business Administrations. Britney joined the YG team this February to gain real world experience in the field she will pursue after graduation in May.

What drew you to Texas Youth and Government?

During high school I worked as a lifeguard at the YMCA in Bastrop Texas. Having such a great experience I decided to apply when I learned about the Youth and Government position. I love working with children, and would love to be a part of educating them into the next leaders of the world.  I believe teaching young children about government is very important for todays society, and for the future society. I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with the YG, I believe this is the perfect opportunity to help me get on my feet after graduation.

When you’re not busy with school and Texas YG, what do you do in your free time?

I have been a part of the Texas State PRSSA student organization on campus for the past two years, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, and last I love traveling and going to concerts.

Share 3 fun facts about you.

In my free time I like to work with adobe software, more specifically adobe premiere and after effects. I love working and learning about videography. I’m a big fan of watching YouTube, my favorite vlogers are Shane Dawson and Safiya Nygaard. After I graduate I hope I have the opportunity to travel more, and my ultimate goal is to travel Europe.

Thank you for sharing, Britney! We’re very excited to have you on the Texas YG team.

2019-02-20T14:52:37-05:00February 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Introducing the Texas Delegation Youth Advocates

Each year, two students are selected to participate in the YMCA Youth Advocate Program at National Advocacy Days in March. This program is designed for students who are passionate about advocating on behalf of the Y’s agenda in support of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Students spend three days in Washington D.C. meeting with policymakers to advance these causes. Meet this year’s Youth Advocates representing Texas: Diomarvellous Nsofor and Grayson Winchester.

Diomarvellous Nsofor

Please list some of your YG related accomplishments.

Throughout my time with Youth and Government, I have been privileged to promote youth civic awareness and engagement within our community, attend the Conference on National Affairs, and most importantly, hold an office seat as the State Affairs Forum chair.

What motivated you to apply for the Youth Advocate Program?

As an immigrant in a predominantly minority community, I constantly advocate for change in many different sectors. Even though I find advocating for change within my community and local legislature to be very essential, I have always been in search of ways to increase the scope of lives that can be bettered through advocacy and I believe that National Advocacy Days would help immensely.

As a Youth Advocate, you will engage in hands-on advocacy training. What topics are you passionate about advocating for on behalf of the Y?

On behalf of the Y, I am extremely passionate about advocating for issues affecting our youth, such as increasing civic engagement within the youth and promoting secondary education within minority communities to eliminate cyclical poverty.

Grayson Winchester

Please list some of your YG related accomplishments.

I have served as President of my school’s Youth and Government club. I’ve also been an attorney for one of my school’s mock trial teams for 3 years qualifying twice for District Court. This year, on top of helping lead my own team, I am also working with and mentoring three other mock trial teams in my club.

What motivated you to apply for the Youth Advocate Program?

The YMCA has played such a key role in my development as a citizen and leader. I joined my local Y’s swim team in 7th grade and went on to become involved in Youth and Government as a sophomore. It’s given my the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone on so many levels, allowing me to grow in areas I never would have thought possible. Very few organizations in our communities have all that the YMCA has to offer and it’s for that very reason I want to help continue that legacy by promoting awareness for the YMCA and it’s benefits among our nation’s leaders.

As a Youth Advocate, you will engage in hands-on advocacy training. What topics are you passionate about advocating for on behalf of the Y?

More than anything else, I’m passionate about the need for social responsibility among the youth in our culture. Our great nation gives us the right to express our beliefs in and outside of government. As a by-product, it is our responsibility as citizens to participate in the democracy of our nation; however, too often people are inhibited by apathy toward their ability to make a difference in our society. For this reason, I wish to advocate on behalf of the Y for opportunities, such as Youth and Government, that will grow interest and understanding of social responsibilities.

Join us in congratulating Diomarvellous and Grayson! We are so excited for them to have this opportunity and we can’t wait to see what great things they accomplish in Washington D.C.!

2018-12-03T16:10:14-05:00December 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Support Texas YG this Giving Tuesday

Did you know that among all of the United States, Texas is ranked 39th for volunteering, 47th for voter turnout, and 50th for discussing politics regularly? The YMCA Texas Youth and Government program recognizes these rankings and strives to make a difference. Our program prepares students through education and hands-on experience to commit to voting, volunteering, and participating in their community.  Tomorrow, on Giving Tuesday, we hope you consider contributing to our mission of helping Texas teenagers become responsible citizens through civic engagement and participation. Your gift will allow one of more than 2,000 students to attend our State Conference where they will practice the interworking aspects of our government and gain the confidence to express their opinions. Help a student attend our State Conference by donating on our website at https://ymcatexasyg.org/donate/.

2018-11-26T12:51:51-05:00November 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Mid-Semester Announcements

Calling all YG students and parents! We have some important mid-semester announcements for all of you! Our District Conferences are quickly approaching so continue reading for our updates.

Students: Check your email for our pre-conference survey! Fill this out by November 14th and you’ll be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Three students will be chosen for this prize. You don’t want to miss out in this giveaway!

Parents: Check your email over the weekend for a reminder to complete the parental authorization form to confirm your student’s registration. The State Office needs your authorization before your student’s District Conference!

Judicial Section Participants: Check the Judicial Section of our website for updates to the Judicial Case, Rules of Evidence, and answered clarification questions. It’s incredibly important you read over this information so you’re up to date with our Judicial materials prior to your District Conference!

Returning CONA Participants: We have extended the deadline for students interested in participating in CONA in 2019. The deadline for returning CONA students, meaning you have participated in CONA before (not YG), is now November 7th.

2018-10-26T16:24:19-05:00October 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Law: A Profession of Service

Have you ever considered a career as an attorney? Have you ever wondered what types of career paths you can follow as an attorney? Are you looking for inspiration to join the legal profession? Look no further! Our partners at Austin Bar Association and Austin Young Lawyer’s Association’s Leadership Academy have put together a documentary exploring the different ways you can become part of the legal field and have provided us with some insight from one of their chairs, Meghan Kempf. On behalf of Texas YG, we greatly appreciate your support for our program!

https://vimeo.com/289990931

Password: LAW

This year a group of 25 attorneys were selected to participate in the Austin Bar Association and Austin Young Lawyer’s Association’s Leadership Academy. As part of their group project they created a short film documentary titled Law: A Profession of Service with the goal to inspire future leaders with an interest in pursuing careers as attorneys. The judges and attorneys in the film include:  Honorable Robert Pitman, Honorable Wallace Jefferson, Honorable Laura Livingston, Dr. Sarah Weddington, Senator Kirk Watson, Berry Crowley, Frank King, and Dirk Jordan.  Each of these leaders have had a significant impact on different local, national, and international communities through their legal work.

One of the 2018 Leadership Academy’s chairs and former 2016 participant in the program is Meghan Kempf. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2012. We asked her a few questions on what inspired her to serve with her law degree and continue to serve in her career. She was the 2018 recipient of the Austin Young Lawyer’s Outstanding Young Lawyer’s award and is currently Staff Counsel at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

What type of work do you do with HHSC?  

“I work on the policy team in the Office of the Chief Counsel for HHSC, advise the HHSC staff on the meaning of relevant laws and assist in interpreting legislation for public assistance programs. I primarily work in the areas of women’s health, family violence services, and Medicaid service delivery for children in state conservatorship.”

What was your first job out of law school?

“My first job after graduation was an Equal Justice Works Fellow for Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. in San Antonio. They fund legal aid projects nationwide to serve unmet needs in local communities. My fellowship focused on providing advocacy for survivors of domestic violence and education resources to community partners, including law enforcement and direct service providers.”

As an attorney, why do you think it is important to serve?

“Attorneys have a unique ability to help people understand and utilize the laws that their representatives have created to govern their lives. To enable people to reach their full potential and dignity is a true privilege and helps our communities to progress to include everyone.”

Do you think that youth involved in the YMCA YG programs can start serving while pursuing a career in politics or as an attorney?

“Absolutely, serving in a representative capacity is the very definition of serving others. The focus on service helps us to remember the true purpose of representation and community discourse, and the value of brining multiple viewpoints to the table.”

 Watching the video, Law: A Profession of Service, what inspiration do you take from it and what do you think the students can take from it?

“Watching the video reminds me of all the different ways a person can be inspired to join the legal profession. There are so many diverse ways to serve and needs to be met in the community. For the students, find something that is your passion and there will be many opportunities to serve and pursue a meaningful career.”

On behalf of the 2018 Leadership Academy Class, I invite you to watch our film, Law: A Profession of Service, to see if you draw inspiration to serve others and see the impact you can have in your pursuit of a career in the legal profession.

We are proud that the YMCA Youth and Government programs are going to share these words of wisdom with the incredible children in their programs and hope to see them develop into leaders with a passion for service to others as they follow their dreams.

2018-10-22T16:40:13-05:00October 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Volunteer Appreciation Event 2018

This past Friday, September 28th, we celebrated our awesome volunteers with our Volunteer Appreciation Event! We enjoyed great food from Threadgills, great music from Jr. Nash, and great company from all who joined us. Thank you to all who participated! Want to volunteer with us? Fill out our interest form here: https://www.tfaforms.com/4687778

2018-10-01T16:09:34-05:00October 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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