CommunitiesThat Care – why youth voices matter

CommunitiesThat Care – why youth voices matter

by Veniece Miller

As a student, I see many adults wanting to help- our schools, our communities, our future. While well-meaning, most of these efforts fail to factor one important voice into the equation: the actual student. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into my first Communities That Care meeting in August. There were people who truly cared about changing the community, and they were engaging students in the conversation.

Ongoing projects see to get student involvement, and student input in the community is extremely important. One evening in December, students from Fruita Middle School, Fruita 8/9 and Fruita Monument High School got together. We identified problems facing the youth like, mental illness, teen suicide, substance abuse, and sex education. These problems were very evident in our schools. Too often these important conversations between youth and community leaders did not happen. Giving a voice to students is perhaps the most impactful thing that we can do for our kids.

Growing up in the Valley, my teachers were passionate about the subjects they taught, and they pushed myself and my peers to challenge ourselves in our educational pursuits. This has made Fruita such a wonderful place to grow up in.

As a student, I see the change that needs to be made in facilities, resources, and learning environment. As local citizens, we have the chance to decide whether or not we want to alter the status quo in our school. I will be graduated by the time we really start to feel the positive effect of Communities that Care, but I know how important they are to my younger peers. I will be doing everything I can to make sure the kids in this community get a voice in making a community a better place to live. I look forward to working on this effort to support our students in our schools.

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