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“Education is the key that unlocks the golden door to freedom.” Those were the words of George Washington Garver. Education opens the door to a world of possibilities and helps you to see the world from a different perspective. Education is one of the most important investments we can make for the future of our country. By educating ourselves, we are not only generating opportunities, but we are also contributing to social, economic, and even political development.
HELPING YOUTH STUDENTS BECOME GREAT LEADERS OF THE FUTURE
At the Y, we are committed to empowering students by giving them the opportunity to learn about—and experience—government policies and methodologies firsthand. In addition to that, we believe that all kids and youth have potential, and our mission is to nurture the potential of every youth of them through our programs.
For over 74 years, Valley of the Sun YMCA has provided different platforms for high school students through the State to learn about civics in an immersive and educational experience through our Youth & Government Model Legislature program. This youth program is design to prepare students for public service skills, debate, research, and more skills to motivate them to be active and engage citizens. Also, it focuses in creating positive and unique experiences for students in a creative and safe environment.
74TH VALLEY OF THE SUN YMCA ANNUAL YOUTH AND MODEL LEGISLATURE AND COURT
On December 1st through December 3rd, Arizona students with different racial background, religious backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses came together to experiences civic engagement in the Arizona State Capitol. Through the Valley of the Sun YMCA’s Model Legislature program, 100 high school students debated 54 student drafted bills addressing education, gun safety, health, LGBTQ issues and more.
During the open session on Friday, December 1st, the students had the pleasure to listen motivational and insightful speeches from, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Judge Gottsfield, and Raymond Embry, CEO of Embry Health.
“Get involved with your community, be a leader, set an example, be passionate, be courageous, be your best.” -Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords
“I love debating, it’s one of my favorite parts, but also I love how you can grow and learn from each other,” stated Nicole Kaiser, elected Youth Governor 2021, who joined the program 4 years ago through her brother, who was also a participant.
If you are in grades 6th through 12th, and are passionate about your community and want to get involved, learn new skills and gain a broader perspective on state, national, or international politics and policy, then Youth and Government is for you! If you are an alumni of the and want to be involved, become a volunteer! Contact Elise Nilles, State Director Arizona Youth and Government, for more information on how to get involved.