2018 Look Who’s Getting it Done Winner – Marin County Youth Commission
I am delighted to announce that the 2018 Look Who’s Getting it Done Award goes to the Marin County Youth Commission (MCYC). I am so incredibly proud and impressed with their ability to tackle complex issues and devote countless hours of their own time working to make our community a better place for all.
Each year I meet with the Novato commissioners and learn about their priorities. I want to give a special shout out to the current team of Novato commissioners for your commitment to youth, your insight on sensitive matters and your advocacy efforts: Lizbeth Mendieta Alvarado, Ava Francis Hall, Joshua Rowe, Gabe Ural and Marlowe Ural.
The MCYC has been successful in working to change public policy. For instance, they were very involved in enhancing the social host ordinance and provided input on the flavored tobacco ban ordinance. Some of the policy areas they are currently working on by committee include:
Mental Health – 2018 was the first year that MCYC had a committee focused on youth mental health. Youth in Marin are experiencing alarming rates of mental health concerns and the committee is dedicated to partnering with county and school officials to address the gaps in support services. Commissioners will host a forum to bring together youth, mental health service providers, school and county officials, and the broader Marin Community to identify the gaps in services for youth. They have also participated in countywide suicide prevention efforts.
Education Equity – Building on work that began in 2016-17, this committee surveyed high schoolers to measure their understanding and knowledge of A-G requirements. Students must fulfill these basic requirements to apply to public universities in California. Based on this research, the committee developed recommendations, such as creating an online portal where students can track their progress on requirements and hiring more counselors. They have partnered with a local education-based coalition to encourage schools to align the high school graduation rates with the A-G requirements.
Social Justice – The first ever social justice committee was established in 2017 and focused on developing a social justice curriculum focused on race and racism. Since then, the committee has used this curriculum to train over 500 students on how to have difficult conversations about race and racism in their communities. The training could be offered to other young people and teachers who are interested in leading racial justice conversations with their students. The committee will expand their reach by offering the training to elected officials and law enforcement officials.
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Prevention – In partnership with Alcohol Justice, this committee recently implemented a vaping awareness campaign, which shared educational materials with young people, educators, and parents at a school resource fair. The committee secured a grant to expand their efforts on vaping and plan to broaden their scope of work, engaging more youth by hosting a monthly public meeting.
Sexual Health and Wellness – The sexual health and wellness committee, hopes to enhance the state of sex education in Marin County. Through surveying high school students and community members, the committee is collecting data to better understand the current state of sexual health and wellness courses available, while creating a shared dialogue around consent and sexual assault. In addition to surveying youth, the committee will provide recommendations on how school districts can create a more inclusive and holistic education regarding sex education and health.
With these intelligent, thoughtful, and committed young adults working on public policy matters, our future feels bright.
Thank you, Marin County Youth Commission, for your hard work and dedication! You truly are “Getting it Done”!