My Experience on the Youth Advisory Council

By Tyler Lang, Youth Advisory Council Member

s Blog ImageMy term on the School-Based Health Alliance’s Youth Advisory Council is ending, and I am looking back and feeling so fortunate for this experience. The inaugural group—of which I was a part—represented a diverse and successful array of young people from across the country. We have a national volunteer and service learning expert from the Midwest, a high school student who started her own nonprofit from New Jersey, a member from North Carolina who has fought tooth and nail to bring a school-based health center (SBHC) to her school, and a young woman from New Mexico who is one of the key voices for SBHCs within her state.

When the School-Based Health Alliance sought youth for their first council, I was just a young person from Maine who had dabbled in health care advocacy. When I was selected to join this first-ever committee, I felt slightly out of my league. All of these other members seemed so accomplished. I knew I helped do some great things in Maine, but I had only been advocating for about one year. I wondered why I was picked to participate on a NATIONAL committee, but looking back a year and a half later I believe that I know the answer.

The stars in my life lined up correctly and I got to actually learn what the school-based health care movement was. I learned firsthand as a student how important SBHCs are, and I wanted a platform to amplify my voice and help others get access to health care. Even though SBHCs serve students, many students don’t understand the model. (I used to be one of them.) This is an issue. The field should work to educate students about what SBHCs are. It is my belief that if more young people knew about the school-based health care movement, far more would become empowered to help create change.

I hope to remain involved with youth health care, specifically with the School-Based Health Alliance, even though my term on the Youth Advisory Council is ending. Young people’s health is too important an issue to give up on, and that is a message to you as you read this post. It is up to you to inspire youth in your life to care about this cause. You can start by educating them about the SBHCs they have (or don’t have), or you could encourage a talented young person you know to apply for a position on the next Youth Advisory Council.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to connect to the youth council through Twitter at @sbhayac. I helped do some great things for this movement because I was lucky enough to learn about it. Imagine what would happen if every young person demanded increased access to health care.

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1 Comment

  1. by Cindy on August 8, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Congrats on a great Inaugural year and all your important accomplishments in Maine and at the National Level! You were never out of your league! It was a pleasure to work with you the past three years! I will miss you!

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