The YEAH! Network uses research, advocacy, and community education and collaboration to influence policy and practice in adolescent sexual health. By articulating a common agenda among diverse local, state, and national stakeholders, we are working to create an informed, empowered, and engaged response to teen pregnancy and sexual health disparities in Hampden County.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Adolescent Advisory Board Meeting with Mayor Pluta

A note from Teresa Vazquez, AAB coordinator: 
I am delighted to report that teens from the YEAH! Network’s Holyoke High School, Adolescent Advisory Board (AAB) will be meeting with the newly elected Mayor of Holyoke, Elaine Pluta, on March 11, 2010.  The purpose of the meeting is for the teens to express their thoughts and voice their opinions regarding the high rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in their community.  Each teen will tell the Mayor his or her recommendations of what should occur to combat these issues and will explain why their recommendations should be implemented.  
How did the teens get to this point of wanting to talk to the Mayor?
Through leadership lessons, teens learned what it takes to become a good leader, what it is to be an advocate, how to advocate and ways their voices could be heard. As part of the leadership skills lessons, teens were asked to pick an issue that affected their lives that they would like to address.  After compiling a list of different issues, they chose teenage pregnancy as their topic. 

When I first spoke to the teens about the opportunity to speak to the Mayor about their chosen topic, although nervous and feeling a bit intimidated by the prospect, I was pleasantly surprised that the majority were willing and eager to take the opportunity to speak their minds.      
So I say good luck to my teens knowing that they will do well, for what they will let the Mayor know comes from the heart and life experience!
Stay tuned for insight from the teens themselves regarding this experience!

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