Amid the chaos of the global pandemic, the Youth Advisory Board is working towards improving the lives of students who may be struggling at home.
The YAB’s main goal is to identify and help fulfill the needs of students. Throughout the school year, this would look like holding stress-relieving workshops, arts and crafts workshops, and other similar student supplementary activities.
“Our hope is to have student voices heard and advocate for the needs of the students,” Sequoia Youth Development Coordinator Alicia Siese said. “Our Youth Advisory Board is not just addressing the needs but also figuring out plans and potential proposals to make changes to support students’ needs and efforts at Sequoia.”
The YAB looks forward to holding periodic themes to help students cope with life throughout the pandemic. Mental health and awareness will be the first theme that the YAB will pursue during these efforts.
“So part of those efforts is we will be doing bi-weekly themes where we promote if it’s maybe mental health awareness or mental health support, and then we’re gonna focus on alcohol and or drug-related substance abuse or concerns with that and where students might be able to find support,” Siese said.
After mental health, substance and drug abuse will be the next theme. When youth are isolated within their homes, they are more prone to drug abuse, which is what the YAB is trying to alleviate through their activities.
“We are going to focus the theme more on alcohol and drug-related, in particular, with vaping. And we’ve also seen an increase in potential drug use within the student population at this time,” Siese said.
Like all classes within Sequoia, the YAB is carrying out their panels, talks, and activities through Zoom, in order to keep students and faculty connected. An activity that they are trying to uphold and keep connected through Zoom is Peer Mediators.
“We’re continuing to provide support. So if there are conflicts, we can definitely support that, and maybe conflict will look a little different now that they’ve been at home,” Siese said.
Overall, we are fortunately seeing an inflow of student resilience and strength amidst this global pandemic.
“I’m also just amazed at how resilient all of our students are and just the strength that they have and motivation to continue to do the work, and stay on track, even though it’s a very difficult time for everyone right now,” Alicia Siese said.
Make sure to follow Sequoia High School’s Youth Advisory Board’s Instagram account @seq.yab and visit https://sites.google.com/a/seq.org/library/yab for more information.