CounSEL is a program of Friday Night Live (FNL) – a statewide youth development program that builds youth as active leaders and resources in their communities by addressing topics like substance abuse. At yli, we take a social justice lens to the work, shifting focus from individual behaviors to the larger patterns of environmental injustice that target young, low-income people of color and encourage unhealthy behaviors and negative stereotypes.
Youth learn to identify issues in their communities, conduct research, and implement media education campaigns, which helps shape powerful advocates who can create lasting change in their communities. This program focuses specifically on Social Emotional Learning through a social justice lens.
This year, the program will take place at George Washington High School, where youth will decide what kind of sustainable changes they want to initiate and cultivate at their school, and then plan and implement a campaign on the issues they care about the most. For example, if a participant sees mental illness as an overwhelming issue, they can initiate a campaign focused on a mental wellness that uplifts culturally inclusive mental health education, improved and updated wellness resources on-site and online, more opportunities for youth to connect with each other in safe spaces, creative healing workshops, etc. All led by youth, in support of youth.