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When Janet Salcedo moved to Kerman, CA in eighth grade, she was shy. Neither of her parents had completed high school, back injuries limited their ability to perform work, and they sacrificed a lot to make sure Janet and her two siblings had access to education. The Central Valley became a home of hidden opportunity for Janet. “YLI stepped into my life at a perfect time,” Janet says. “YLI helped me become confident about myself, and become interested with policy work.”
Janet’s work with YLI over the past three years in the South East Neighborhood Transportation Team (SENTT) has led a coalition of youth, city officials, and community workers to change the environmental factors in the Central Valley that lead to underage drinking. This past summer, the team launched 5 healthy billboards in South East Fresno to combat negative advertising in their community. You can see Janet in the billboard above (third from right)!
Janet focuses on environmental factors that encourage young people to make healthy decisions. She, along with the SENTT youth, recognize that negative advertising and the saturation of liquor outlets are one of the root causes of violence and underage drinking is in their neighborhood. She participated in a youth-led research project that found 83 liquor retailers within a 1-mile radius of a Fresno High School. These research findings and advocacy work encouraged Fresno city officials to implement policies that restrict liquor advertising.
In addition to her new leadership as a Youth Board Member of Youth Leadership Institute, Janet is also the first youth Board member to the Regional Transportation Plan for Fresno Council of Governments, and has served on the California Youth Council. She is just beginning her senior year as a Communication Studies and Political Science major at Fresno Pacific University.
Janet hopes to some day hold a political office. Assemblymember Henry Perea recently hosted her for a day at Capitol Hill, and she sat with him on the Assembly floor!
“I didn’t think that young people’s voices mattered. I thought decisions were held in the hands of officials, and I didn’t know I had any power. YLI is what I was looking for. I was finally able to make a change on issues that impact me on a daily basis. YLI stepped into my life at a perfect time.” – Janet Saucedo