The Youth Advisory Council : Youth Reaching Out to Youth
By Melody Yan
As a YAC member for over four years, I’ve experienced numerous changes and acquired many skills. I’ve been through three YAC groups, each with different members, coordinators and personalities. Each year, YAC organizes different projects to outreach Bay Area teens about teen dating and domestic violence. We decide ourselves what project we would like to work on; for example, we’ve painted a mural in Oakland, created a resource guide, acted in a currently televised Public Service Announcement, and wrote and performed in a play.
In the past year, YAC has gone through many changes, specifically new members. I personally thought that assimilating people of different cultures and grade levels together was truly difficult in the beginning. However, luckily, we were able to spend more time together during meetings and retreats, and became more of a tight-knit family. Our projects include our annual poster contest and talent show, and our video, “Come Back to Me.” Most recently, we’ve received a grant from California Technology Foundation of California to launch "That's Not Love On-Line", an online forum and Web site, run by Asian Pacific Islander youth to educate and inform their peers about domestic and dating violence. We’ve also been working on a zine that includes different poems, letters, and statistics on dating violence.
Working with a tight-knit group definitely helped us work better not only with each other but also on the projects. When we were unfamiliar with each other in the beginning, no one would talk during the meetings, and it was really hard for us work together without a bond. Therefore, familiarizing with each other not only brought us closer, but also made the projects a lot more enjoyable.
Out of all the projects that we’ve done, my most favorite one was our video, “Come Back to Me.” Just knowing that it will be distributed to different schools truly excites me. I had no prior acting experience, but I learned a lot about being on a set, and how long each step takes to make a video. Our original piece is about 45 minutes long, but we’ve also created an 8-minute version, which we debuted at our talent show. We are definitely proud of the video, given all the hard work that we’ve put into it.
I’ve experienced a lot in the four years that I’ve been at YAC. Of course, I’ve made a lot of friends throughout, but I have truly gained a lot of knowledge and experience. I’ve learned how to give workshops, organize meetings, perform on stage, speak in front of large crowds, partner with other organizations, fundraise, and so much more experience that I can’t explain with words. It truly has been a lot of hard work, but we’ve also had a lot of fun. Four years seems like a long time, but when I think about it, it only seems like only a year worth of memories and experiences. YAC has truly been a big part of my life, and I will definitely miss it when I leave.
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