The  Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs and the American Institutes for Research, funded the attendance and active participation of 20 youth and their adult supporters from across the United States in a Listening Session to Identify How to Support Youth Decision-Making. One of REACH Mentoring’s peer mentors and SOS founder, Raven Sevilleja, was selected to attend to express her thoughts and ideas to U.S. Federal Staff; and REACH Program Coordinator was selected to be Raven’s “Supportive Adult” through the process.
Federal Staff expressed that they were, “. .  . blown away by how engaged you were at the meeting, how meaningful the discussions were, and how you pushed for action steps to come out of this meeting.” Federal Staff also stated that, “We are taking what the youth said seriously and we will keep you informed about our follow-up activities and actions. We are already thinking about ways to add content to youth.gov for families, among other things.”
Cheri Hoffman, Chair of the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, sent a separate thank you to the young people saying, “We have set a goal for ourselves this year at the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs to change the narrative around youth in this country and to help adults see young people for the incredible strengths and abilities they have. You kicked off that campaign in a big way. Federal staff who attended the listening session say things like it was “amazing” and “inspiring” – those are not usually words we hear about federal government meetings! That’s all because of you – your words, your thoughts, your style and your willingness to share.”
Raven and Anne learned about the Federal website: youth.gov and encourage Carlton County community members to visit the site and sign up to receive the monthly e-newsletter (scroll to the bottom of the youth.gov website and enter your email address where it says: Subscribe to E-Newsletter).