This week, student leaders and teacher advisors participated in training hosted by the VT Department of Education, called “Getting to Y.”
The daylong training in Montpelier was designed to bring student-leaders and teacher-advisors together to analyze and make sense of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) results. Since 1985, students in grades 8-12 participate bi-annually in the YRBS. The tools measures youth behaviors and perceptions in important areas like alcohol, tobacco, and drug use, sexual behavior, violence and safety, physical activity, body weight, and nutrition, and more.
The purpose of YRBS is to “promote resiliency of young people” by addressing unhealthy fears and stereotypes, highlighting positive norms, and targeting efforts to make our communities better places for our young people.
Making sense of the data, however, is just the first step. “Getting to Y” is about empowering student leaders to develop their own plan of action for engaging their peers to make their schools and communities even stronger.
Our young leaders spent much of the day planning the following next steps to make a difference in their schools:
- Youth Retreat for BFA/GEMS students to examine the YRBS data from their school, identifying the strengths and assets, as well as discussing specific trends that are of concern to them as students.
- Community Dialogue facilitated by student leaders and their advisors, will engage the entire community in important discussions about ways to build on healthy assets and reduce high-risk behaviors through safe communities.
We believe that students are best able to identify the “why” behind the data trends and come up with a plan for change. We are confident that our student-leaders have a powerful voice among their peers and that their perspective really will make a difference!
“NEVER DOUBT THAT A SMALL GROUP OF COMMITTED PEOPLE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD; INDEED, IT IS THE ONLY THING THAT EVER HAS.”