Raising the youth voice is something that the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) program is strongly committed to, which is why the theme for this year’s Legislative Day was Empower Youth Voices. We took the opportunity to enable youth to tell us how they felt and what they experienced while in Lansing meeting with their legislators, by documenting their day. Youth took notes of the things they learned, their favorite experiences, how they felt to be heard by legislators and how this event impacted their lives. Through the written entries and photo collages submitted, we were able to learn more about Legislative Days through the eyes of our youth.
For many of our youth, this was the first time visiting the Michigan State Capitol Building. They had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with their local legislators, witness debates taking place, see the House of Representatives in session passing bills, and learn more about each branch of government. Youth were interested to learn that Legislators are normal people that come from all walks of life, just like them.
“I realized that legislators are just like us, with goals and ideas that they would like to achieve for the good of their community. This is an experience I will always remember,” said Arriya Douglas from GST Michigan Works!
Many legislators have faced barriers and obstacles in their lives as well, and it didn’t stop them from following their dreams. After hearing the inspiring stories of Al Pscholka, Vice President of Public Relations & Government Affairs for Kinexus Group and former three-term member of the Michigan House of Representatives, Senator Stephanie Chang, and Representative Beth Griffin, youth felt empowered and capable of anything.
“It shows us that we can do anything reasonable with our talents and abilities,” said Fatima Anguiano from CASMAN Academy.
Legislative Days taught youth that their voices matter.
“I was impacted by this experience because I got the chance to speak in front of my representatives and voice my opinion on how I feel about my school,” explained Isaiah Riordan from Northview Next Career Center.
Youth were encouraged to get involved in their communities, stand up for issues that are important to them, and most importantly, they felt heard.
“I was able to tell my story and actually allow someone to hear me,” said Niyonni Goree from Northview Next Career Center.
To learn more about Legislative Days and hear from other youth who were impacted by this experience, visit our website.