Hi! My name is Crystal and I am a senior at Potomac Senior High School. This is my second year in Y Street and my first year on the Y Street Leadership Team (YSLT). I decided to join Y Street after my Youth Field Organizer (YFO) shared the amazing opportunities I’d be able to participate in during his virtual visit to my school. This was in the midst of COVID, so everything was online at the time. Since joining Y Street, I have met with key decision-makers and other members of my community to help make Virginia healthier for us all, while improving my public speaking and leadership skills all at once. My only regret is not joining sooner, it definitely exceeded my expectations!
On January 20th, I participated in VA Healthy Youth Day and presented with two of my fellow YSLT members from my school. Throughout the day, we met with members of the Virginia General Assembly to highlight the work of Y Street in my school and community. The day before the virtual event, we prepared for the meetings. Our YFOs provided an overview of the day and helpful tips and then placed us into breakout rooms to rehearse. While in the breakout rooms, my teammates and I shared advice and suggestions with each other. It was amazing to have so much support during the practice session because it reminded me that we can make mistakes as long as we learn from them and move forward. When we went back into the main room, we all shared words of encouragement, asked questions, and reviewed our meeting schedules. I felt more than prepared for the big day!
On VA Healthy Youth Day, I met with two legislators and had a GREAT time! We presented and explained the campaigns while also involving them throughout the presentations. Senator Jeremy McPike shared this advice that I use as my daily inspiration now – “You should always want to better your community and leave it better than you found it.” In the end, we answered questions with the help of our YFO and enjoyed having fun conversations with our legislators about school and snow days off! After each meeting, my teammates and I excitedly prepared Thank You emails for each legislator. Each message was personalized to make it memorable, including links to support cards for them to fill out and one-pagers with more information about the campaigns and program.
Overall, VA Healthy Youth Day was a blast. I love being a part of the #YStreetMovement!