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Teens Gather to Plan Action Campaigns

Students Address Census, Voter Education, and Mental Health Issues

Students holding handwritten action plans

On Saturday, November 2, the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) hosted a Youth Engagement Summit where some of the brightest young minds in the community gathered to discuss the issues that are important to them and to plan strategies that attempt to improve those issues.

Nearly 70 students attended the event, focused on three important issues: the 2020 US Census, Voter Education, and Student Mental Health Support. The day consisted of panel discussions and breakout sessions fueled by the energy of engaged and motivated youth.

“History has proven time and again the power young people have to create change,” Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon told the students. “It is beyond important that you get involved and make your voices heard. It is the way you create the change we need to strengthen our people and our democracy.”

“I think the important thing about bringing them all together is to show that they really do have a strong voice…together. It’s really about helping students understand they’re not alone,” said Frank Pisi, SCOE History/Social Science Director.

Students worked with peers from throughout the Sacramento region, hoping to be active agents for positive change in their local communities.

Lizzet Bravo, a student from Luther Burbank High School, is part of a group working on outreach for the US Census because she doesn’t want her community underrepresented in the next Census. “Not many people are being represented as they should be….We notice that many of our people are being miscounted,” Bravo said.

C.K. McClatchy High student Emma Basco will focus her efforts on student mental health in Sacramento County to make more young people aware of what services are available. “I think that the youth in Sacramento County have the power to break the stigma surrounding mental health conversations that are happening right now,” Basco said.

Daniel Perone, a Hiram Johnson High student, will focus on voter education and outreach to remind young people their vote does count. “Some people find it unnecessary to vote because they don’t feel it affects them….Voting really matters because it affects anyone from any age group,” Perone said.

Students from the following school districts attended the summit: Elk Grove Unified, Galt Elementary, Galt High School, Sacramento City Unified, San Juan Unified, and Twin Rivers Unified. While the breakout sessions were facilitated by experts, the plans will be developed and implemented by students. Students will present their projects at the Youth Engagement Showcase on April 25, 2020.

Students posing with superintendent and holding engagement summit photo frame
Students reviewing plans with SCOE director