Youth Advisory Council
Youth Advisory Council
From the beginning, FLY has emphasized Youth Voice, in which youth use their stories and experiences to inspire hope and encourage change in the lives of other youth, and to influence positive changes in the systems that affect their lives. One important expression of Youth Voice is the Youth Advisory Council, created in 2017 in partnership with the Santa Clara County Probation Department. The goal of the YAC is to elevate the voice of youth, equipping young people to lead the way in creating more effective, humane local juvenile justice systems.
The vision of the YAC, as created by the founding youth members, is that: “The inclusion of the youth voice will promote a local Juvenile Justice System that fosters the success and personal growth of our youth. As a result, we will see an increase in the number of youth who successfully complete Probation, as well as a decrease in youth incarceration rates.”
How Youth Benefit
The YAC provides youth who formerly participated in juvenile justice services with a unique opportunity to provide input on current system processes, policies, and practices. It allows youth the opportunity to use their stories and experiences to inspire hope and encourage change in the lives of youth who are currently involved in the Juvenile Justice System. An additional objective of the YAC is to enhance the professional development and leadership skills of all of its members.
Since the launch of YAC, the members have already made vital changes to the Probation Department and have gained national attention:
- YAC developed an orientation for youth newly on probation and their families to share information and perspective they need to be successful on probation. YAC is now hosting regular orientations for these youth.
- The Probation Department has incorporated a YAC presentation and panel into all core trainings for new probation officers to help them build stronger rapport with the youth on their caseloads.
- A YAC representative is an active member of the City of San Jose’s Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force.
- The YAC Justice Consultants facilitated a workshop at San Jose’s Gang and Crime Prevention Summit on the risks for system involvement related to social media.
- FLY’s YAC Past President, Miracle Te’o, was invited to join the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s national Youth Advisory Council and represents youth across the nation in this important role.
For information about membership in YAC, please contact Susie Rivera, Vice President of Youth Voice and Executive Director of Santa Clara County, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“So many doors have opened up for me, and for other youth, thanks to FLY. But that’s not all. Now we have a voice and a platform to use that voice in sharing our stories to help inspire hope in other youth and their families. With that voice, we’re also helping to make positive changes in the juvenile justice system.” -Miracle Te’o, Past YAC President