Youth Solutions recently held its annual Legislative Day event for Jobs for Michigan's Graduates (JMG) youth at the State Capital on February 22. Legislative Day is focused on giving youth an opportunity to learn about the state government and meet with their local legislators. Unfortunately, unforeseen weather conditions disrupted our plans, and many JMG programs were unable to attend.
Despite this setback, the team at Youth Solutions remained determined and four youth were still able to attend the event. Two of the attendees traveled from Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! before the storm hit, while the other two were local youth from Lansing School District. The low turnout did not dampen the spirits of our youth, specialists, and Youth Solutions staff in attendance, as we made the most of the day exploring Lansing and being together.
All four youth had the opportunity to meet with their legislators and share their stories, advocating for their communities and the JMG program. Adam, from Lansing School District, shared that, "Attending Legislative Day was very informative and I enjoyed my conversation with State Representative Emily Dievendorf. She made me feel as though I mattered and I appreciated that." Although Adam lives in Lansing, Legislative Day was the first time that he and his fellow attendee, August, had the chance to visit the Capitol, and he expressed his gratitude to JMG for making this possible.
Another highlight of Legislative Day is presenting four elected officials with the JMG Legislative Champion Award. This award recognizes their ongoing support of Youth Solutions and the JMG program. Even with the weather disruption, the awards were given out. Those honored were: Senator Sam Singh, previous Youth Solutions board member, D-District 28, Senator Ed McBroom R-District 38, Representative Will Snyder D-District 87, and Representative Phil Green R-District 67.
We were also thrilled to have Janelle Duray, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG), join us this year. Our youth and specialists had the opportunity to speak with Janelle one-on-one, sharing their experiences from Legislative Day, information about their programs, and ideas on the future of JAG.
Despite many of our youth being unable to attend, we want to acknowledge their hard work in preparing for the event. They learned valuable skills such as how to speak to their legislators and how to represent and advocate for their communities. These skills will come in handy as we continue to celebrate the importance of Legislative Day!
Over the next few months, we will be scheduling time for JMG programs to meet with their legislators and we encourage everyone to keep an eye on our Facebook page for photos and updates from these visits.
We are proud of our solution-focused approach, which helped us overcome the weather-related obstacles, and we look forward to making the most of our future opportunities to advocate for our JMG youth and programs.
Watch the highlight video for Legislative Day, here.