Ending youth homelessness in our community is possible. But our public policies must incorporate the viewpoints and stories of young people experiencing homelessness to be effective.
On Youth Advocacy Day (YAD) last Friday, young people gathered in Olympia. They voiced their perspectives during meetings with elected officials, a rally, and march to end youth homelessness. Special thanks to the Mockingbird Society for organizing the event and to the hundreds of youth advocates who traveled across the state to come to Olympia. We were so inspired by the young people who courageously shared their stories with legislators and grateful to our staff for speaking out about the barriers they encounter in their work.
CHECK OUT youth & staff reflections FROM THIS ACTION-PACKED DAY BELOW:
“Being young during this age is already really hard. It’s not fair that on top of being young we have to be homeless and worry every night about where we’ll go to sleep. No young person should ever have to worry about that.” – Marz, Pathways Under-18 Community Living Program client
“This was my first YAD experience and I am so happy that I participated this year. What was most meaningful to me was to witness the youth advocating for system-level changes, especially for adequate funding in our under-18 housing programs.
I do believe this event is impactful because it shows state legislators that youth voices must be at the core of what we do.” – Jason, UDYC Program Manager
“It is time we stand up for change. It is important because we are all humans and we each deserve to be understood. It is time for justice and youth need to be heard so no one is left behind.” – Meseret, Orion Center client
“Youth Advocacy Day was inspiring to me for two reasons. The first was seeing previous young people I’ve worked with advocate so eloquently for all young people. The second was watching the youth we came with find their voice over the course of the day, and hearing them talk about how excited they were to continue youth advocacy beyond this day!
We work with so many young people who often feel jaded about politics. Seeing them feel empowered to advocate for change was heartwarming.” – Emily, YouthGrow Program Supervisor
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