The Youth Leadership Institute proudly congratulates their youth leader Ruby on this great achievement!
Ruby says leading community change work in Marin County has helped her grow immensely as a leader. Her self-confidence has boosted dramatically, as she had “never done anything similar to work with YLI or anything that was just as inspirational.” Her increased confidence has made her feel that she can contribute equally to any conversation despite being the youngest person in the room. She says, “I’ve become more comfortable in myself and in the world I live in.”
Ruby was recently awarded the Heart of Marin in recognition of her highly impactful work for social justice and equity through the Youth Leadership Institute. The Heart of Marin is awarded to no more than 5 youth carrying out high impact work with a Marin nonprofit in the community, education or faith environment.
A lifelong resident of Marin, Ruby joined YLI two years ago and is a member of the Marin County Communities Mobilizing for Change in Alcohol (CMCA) Coalition and the Marin County Youth Commission (MCYC). The CMCA is comprised of youth and adults committed to reducing underage access to alcohol through policy. MCYC is comprised of 20 diverse youth between the ages of 12 and 23, and its goal is to act as a political voice for young people by engaging with the Marin County Board of Supervisors and other policy makers. The Board of Supervisors appoints youth and the youth represent the young people of their districts.
As a Youth Commissioner, Ruby has been especially involved in the ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs) Subcommittee, which strives to enact policies that reduce underage drinking. One of the most significant projects the ATOD Subcommittee has recently undertaken is a community-based research process, where they led through 100 interviews on alcohol knowledge and use. These important conversations produced an equally massive 7 hours of data. Ruby led the team in conducting these interviews and stepped up as a leader by volunteering in data analysis to identify themes, patterns, and possible policy solutions to prevent underage drinking, a significant issue for youth in Marin. Her efforts are a great example of YLI’s method of youth-led action research. Youth collect data to better understand an issue in their community, and use that data to propose solutions for healthier communities.
YLI has also helped Ruby spark leadership in youth around her and has provided her a keener sense of equity. This insight YLI developed has enabled her to “recognize so many different things – small injustices ranging from racism, classism, and inherent privilege.”
Ruby defines youth leadership as “stepping up” because “youth have the power to make a change even if you are younger than those around you. It’s a choice but you get to do so much and get to have such a great impact on everyone.”