Let Youth Be Heard
What is Youth Speak Out (YSO)?
YSO is youth group for teenagers and young adults that try to make a difference for all youth in foster care to be able to express themselves and educate the community on the importance of connections and listening to what youth have to say. YSO began in November 2014 and we meet the fourth Wednesday of every month.
What do we do in Youth Speak Out?
We always have dinner and check in about how our month is going. After dinner, we usually do an activity for team building to help continue to get to know each other and have some fun. In every meeting, we brainstorm about how to help people recognize the importance of foster youth having connections with adults who are willing to understand, support, and listen to youth. We also discuss our experiences in foster care, but it is a very safe environment, and we never have to share what we don’t feel comfortable with. We always decide on what activity we will do together the next month and get to pick out what dinner will be. This is truly a youth friendly and youth driven group.
Why do we go to Youth Speak Out?
Devoshar: The reason I go to speak out is because I want to be able to connect with other youth with a similar story as me. I also go to speak out to meet new people and understand their stories as well.
Maggie: One reason I go to speak out is because I would like to be heard and have a positive impact on youth. I also go to speak out because it helps me deal with my emotions related to different struggles that I experienced while being in care. I also go to speak out so I can understand other youth stories and feel more welcome. I just feel safe there and they don’t judge what others have been through.
What is the goal of Youth Speak Out?
The goal of Youth Speak Out is to let people know that we all have a story and that those stories need to be heard. We want our stories to be heard so that people understand what we go through, how their decisions impact us, and how important it is that we are heard. We also want people to understand that like all other people, we deserve loving, supportive families.
By Maggie and Devoshar