Youth Advisory Committee (YAC)

Youth Advisory Committee

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2017-18 YAC Year

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The Children's Trust Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), open to all Miami-Dade County high school students, serves as a youth leadership development program. Through regular meetings, trainings and firsthand service-learning experiences, YACers spend the year in an exploration of leadership and advocacy, especially on behalf of children and families.

Formed in 2006, the YAC has grown each year in terms of numbers and impact. In 2016, The Trust expanded the YAC to include two new groups, YAC North and YAC South (to accompany YAC Central). Approximately 60 youth are participating. While the groups meet at separate sites, they share a common mission: to nurture the next generation of change-makers committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world. YACers hone leadership and advocacy skills in part by developing and implementing a service learning project. They simultaneously learn about the work of The Trust and about their own communities as they cultivate a connection to each other and to the team.

The YAC utilize the framework provided by the PeaceJam Curriculum, which seeks to inspire new leaders through the efforts of Nobel Peace Prize laureates. The curriculum is geared to enhance both the academic and socio-emotional skills of participating youth, while fostering the essential character traits – responsibility, creativity, optimism and grit, among others – to create positive change in the world.

The three YACs – along with other area youth groups – share common events during the year, notably the PeaceJam SLAM in November that takes place on the Miami-Dade College InterAmerican Campus and a trek to Tallahassee in the spring during Children's Week to visit the Florida Capitol, meet with legislators and experience the political process firsthand, as well as attend the PeaceJam Southeast Regional Conference on the FSU campus. As part of their visit to the state capital, the youth facilitate an advocacy training for other youth.

For 2016, the group held a 90-minute interactive session focused on civic engagement titled, "Today's Youth, Tomorrow's Leaders," in Tallahassee City Hall with legislators on one side of the panel and youth on the other.

Youth Advisory Committee

2015-2016 Youth Advisory Committee - Our teen group moves at a quick pace,
so come ready to put your skills to work. Regular attendance is a must.

Participation on the YAC can be counted for fulfilling community service hours requirements.

  • 25 YAC members and four City Year Miami volunteers attended the full-day "Leaders with Vision" retreat at Camp Mahachee to strategize for the year ahead. Drumming, threater improv and mask-making, then making a meal from scratch formed part of the team-building activities. 
  • YACers cleaned, scubbed, painted and planted as part of the "Spirit of Unity" effort to renovate the New Horizon facility to commemorate - with a spirit of unity - the Sept. 11, 2001 Trade Tower attacks.  
  • 20 YAC members and seven members of the Miami-Dade County Youth Commission traveled together to Tallahassee for Children's Week activities in April 2015. The group toured the Capitol, held a mock debate in Senate chambers, met with legislators and lobbied on our issue of homelessness. As part of our visit, we attended the two-day PeaceJam Conference with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Adolfo Suarez-Esquivel.  

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For more information
e-mail YAC@thechildrenstrust.org
or call 305.571.5700