CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Youth and Young Adult (YaYA) Council is looking for new members to join in its mission to make youth issues known throughout the Cowboy State.
Spearheaded by Susie Markus, YaYA coordinator, the council is committed to sharing the voices of young adults ages 18–22.
“We just amplify their voices throughout Wyoming,” Markus said. “They do a lot of presentations with people who develop youth programs and who work with youth.”
Young adults who join this group present at various events throughout the state, bringing awareness to issues that specifically affect youths.
Events in which members of the council participate include the Wyoming Joint Symposium of Children and Youth, the Wyoming Sexual Violence and Prevention Council, and the Wyoming Suicide Prevention Summit.
“They share their voices with people who work with youth or develop youth programs,” Markus said, “because we really think that their voice helping to develop programs that really meet the youth needs is super important.”
Along with aiding to help make youth issues heard, YaYA Council members also have an opportunity to share their own stories. One way they do this is through a Photovoice project.
In their Photovoice project, members focus on a topic which they are interested in regarding youth development. This includes mental health care, suicide prevention, LGBTQ+ issues, anti-bullying and reproductive health care.
Markus said another goal is to help young people from across the state connect with each other and move toward a goal, adding, “We’re going to try and just connect with young people where they’re at and just provide support for them.”
The group is looking to recruit new members from the ages of 18 to 22 to join the council. The process begins by reaching out to Markus.
“They would reach out to me, and then I would talk with them, and then I would just send them a little application,” she said. “And then we would connect again to make sure it’s a good fit, and then they would become a YaYA.”
More information on the YaYA Council can be found here.