I would like to thank everyone who made the YES! program possible. From the UT staff at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life to the leadership of Texas PTA, I commend everyone for making this program a reality for youth leaders across the state, for involving my generation, and for their sincere endeavors to make a difference.
When I first heard about the program from my father, who had seen it in an email, it sounded like something I would enjoy. After reading over the program description, I realized YES! fit very well with my own interests and goals including civic leadership and engagement. Since first applying to be a part of the inaugural Class of 2019 to then learning of my acceptance into the program, I was excited by the opportunities that awaited me in Austin!
I was greatly impressed by how the program was organized – the various learning sessions were seamlessly integrated and the content from any one session carried over to the next with everything complementing one another. The topics were so incredibly relevant that they instilled in me encouragement and motivation to take these ideas home and make a positive impact and difference on my campus and in the community that I live.
I always knew that I had a love for civic service and giving back to the community, but YES! turned that spark into a raging fire! The youth attending the program represented a diverse group of students who, despite having very different ambitions for the future, all shared one clear goal – to become more civically engaged and to actively contribute towards the betterment of their schools and communities.
My experience working with this group could not have been any better. From the level of speakers to the like-minded students and leaders brought together, the whole three-day experience made a huge impact. I left excited and energized.
So what’s next? I plan to organize a political event at the University of Texas at Dallas to bring awareness and inform more people of the issues impacting our community and the ways everyone can contribute to help resolve these issues. This would never have been possible without the incredible training I received at YES!
I am confident that this program will go on to educate more students from my community and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.