The Student Advocacy Council is a unique opportunity for students in Madera schools to lead positive school-wide change. The program was officially launched in the Fall semester of 2018 in the city’s two high schools. Unlike after school or lunchtime clubs, the program is structured as a school elective, and students receive class credit for participating.
Drawing on the YLI model for youth leadership development, the classes at Madera South High have spent the initial months of the school year honing leadership skills, team building, and learning about social justice frameworks.
At Madera High, the youth dove right into campaign mode in response to a tragic suicide that took place at the beginning of the school year. Rallying support from the Madera County Behavioral Health Department, the youth provided printed mental health resources to students and staff during their youth-led Mental Health Awareness Week, and implemented a “Chalk it Up” campaign that shared affirming messages on walkways throughout the campus.
In the coming semester, both classes will be initiating research on issues affecting their schools, and developing a campaign to address these issues.