On Wednesday, April 26, nearly 200 students and adult allies from across Illinois visited the State Capitol to share their voice with state legislators as part of EverThrive Illinois’ Annual Youth Advocacy Day. Youth champions advocated for legislators to pass a fully funded state budget that protects school health center (SHC) funding and for HB3709, which removes barriers to counseling services for at-risk youth.
Throughout the morning, groups of high school students participated in half a dozen legislative meetings with their State Senators and Representatives, where they spoke about school health centers and behavioral health services. Students reported positive experiences with lawmakers and left their meetings feeling fully supported by elected officials.
After meeting with their legislators, students, adult allies, and elected officials gathered in the Capitol Rotunda for a rally to conclude the day's activities. Senators Daniel Biss, Heather Steans and David Koehler, as well as Representatives Robyn Gabel, Emanuel
Chris Welch, Greg Harris, and Juliana Stratton spoke on the importance of civic engagement, a fully funded state budget, and investing in adolescent health services. In addition to legislators, energized students led chants and addressed the crowd, sharing inspiring stories on how their SHCs helped them through medical issues, behavioral health crises, and the value of having access to comprehensive health services in their schools. The rally was the highlight of the day, and many students reported that they felt inspired to make a difference and appreciated the opportunity to connect with other passionate young leaders.
We could like to thank the following high schools, and their school health center staff, for working with EverThrive IL to coordinate this uplifting event:
Crane Medical Preparatory High School
Evanston Township High School
Maine East High School
Marion High School
Orr Academy High School
Peoria High School
Proviso East High School
Richwoods High School
Roosevelt High School
Senn High School
Simpson Academy High School
Young Women's Leadership Charter School
As we look to our 2018 Youth Advocacy Day, please reach out to Kristen Nuyen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-491-8161 x25, if you are interested in receiving information on next year's activities!