Youth Advocates from all over Oregon showed up in Salem on February 9th to take part in the OSBHA Awareness Day, an annual event planned and led by the OSBHA Statewide Youth Action Council. The SYAC is a group of youth leaders who work to advocate on behalf of their peers for adolescent health. Led by Program Manager Suzanne Flory, the SYAC members worked many months to organize and plan this day for their peers.
Embracing the event's theme, Superheroes of Health, youth explored their own superhero traits and learned about the heroic power of sharing their own stories when advocating as part of the legislative process. They learned more about how a bill becomes a law from children's health lobbyist Doug Riggs and OSBHA Policy Director Maureen Hinman.
They also learned about legislators -- what they do and how to speak with them to advocate for adolescent health issues.The youth then ended their day at the State Capitol building meeting with their Senators and Representatives, putting their training into action. In total, Youth Advocates completed about 25 legislative visits! We'd like to encourage all youth attendees to follow up with a note to your legislators thanking them for their time. You can find a sample note here.
Overall, 118 youth attended from 20 different schools in six different counties, including new SBHC sites in Curry and Jackson counties. We were so excited to see new sites attending the event. We'd like to thank the Coordinators for all of their hard work in not only getting the youth to Salem, but working to prep them before coming. Our SBHC Advocates for Youth are the best!
Youth meet with Speaker of the House Tina Kotek