Rumblings of the People's Climate March sifted through my inbox, my Facebook news feed, and casual conversations for months leading up to the day of the event. The invitation was to call for strong action on climate from international leaders at Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's UN Climate Summit. I was keeping an ear to the ground on the progress of my fellow youth climate organizers, but I had really no idea what to expect in New York. No one did.
Hi, my name is Lucy West and I'm a senior at St. Paul Central High School in Minnesota. I am also a co-president of my school's environmental club, Roots & Shoots. I went to the People's Climate March with a group of high schoolers from around the Twin Cities as part of the YEA! MN youth delegation – a program of the Will Steger Foundation. The People's Climate March was a huge gathering of people in New York City of 400,000 people calling for immediate climate action.
The new school year is just under way and YEA! MN is already hard at work. We kicked off the fall season with the YEA! MN Student Action Training to shake of the summer dust and get students geared up as critical leaders in their school communities. Eleven students from 7 different Twin Cities high schools spent their last Saturday afternoon of the summer learning new tools to empower their success as youth organizers in their school environmental clubs.
YEA! MN is unique in that we are an authentically student directed program. This means that my job is not to tell students what we should do but ask them what they want to do. Of course, I still provide feedback and suggestions, however the purpose is to help them more fully think through their action projects, ideas, and what they want to accomplish. The place where this happens is at our youth steering committee meetings. Twice a month our students come together to learn about issues, discuss questions they have, invite in speakers, and plan events.
We have wrapped up a fantastic year at YEA! MN.Our students have wrestled with big issues, learned about organizing, and taken action on projects they care about; all while going to high school, doing their homework, and participating in other community and extra curricular work.I have never been so impressed and proud of a group of youth- no, scratch that, I have never been so proud of a group of people!
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