Opinion

Insights from thought leaders working to improve the lives of America’s Youth

TW
Youth Board Member, America's Promise Alliance
Having served on many advisory boards and holding various student government positions, I thought I was an expert in advocating on behalf of youth. But in reading the letters over the past five weeks, my eyes have been opened to the perspectives of youth from across the country. Youth from different age groups, backgrounds, and experiences that all share the desire to be a valued voice in decision-making. In this series, three powerful messages stand out to me.
Benjamin Brady

Benjamin Brady

Youth Author
While COVID-19 has barred me from entering and learning in a school-building-based environment, I still have the resources to learn from home. And just because I’m at home learning in front of a screen doesn’t mean that I can’t have as rich of an educational experience as when I was going to school in-person.
Alexa C.P.

Alexa C.P.

Youth Author
I am a sophomore in high school and a foster youth. My experience in foster care and having to move to multiple schools has prepared me for situations where I need to adapt to rapid changes in my environment. But even so, I was unprepared for the completely new way of learning that is expected of me during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patton Byars

Patton Byars

Youth Author
Understanding the different motivations behind Black Lives Matter, initiatives to defund police, ending foreign wars and even developing more transparency in government should be important to every high school student today. It really is up to our generation to combat this toxic environment and encourage more students to engage in meaningful learning through civil discourse.
Nyché Tyme Andrew

Nyché Tyme Andrew

Youth Author
The adjustment to online school is difficult for all students. I am an AP student with a 4.07 grade point average and at the beginning of the year, I was taking three classes across three different software platforms. The learning curve that came with it was aching...
Brittan Gallo

Brittan Gallo

Youth Author
This piece is part of “Dear Adult Leaders: #ListenToYouth,” a four-week series produced in collaboration with The 74 to elevate student voices in the national conversation as schools and districts nav
Grayson Shaw

Grayson Shaw

Youth Author
Students’ lives are far more complicated than a letter, and a pass/fail system allows teachers to recognize this and utilize a system that understands how different aspects of a student’s life can reduce their educational abilities, which makes them look like a poor student on paper. A pass/fail system minimizes these extraneous disparities and still properly educates students.
Agha Haider

Agha Haider

Youth Author
There’s no doubt that the pandemic has had harsh negative effects on all people — especially teenagers. Feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety are imminent when shut away from friends and other peers for elongated periods of time.
JL

JENA LE

Youth Author
My best friend told me that one of our friends was sending her suicidal text messages and that she didn’t know what to do. I knew that we didn’t have the right expertise to really help our friend...
HANNAH WYMAN

HANNAH WYMAN

Youth Author
We need to recognize that schools aren’t doing enough to meet the mental health needs of students, and we need adults to take the lead.
CECILE STONE

CECILE STONE

Youth Author
A new stigma around mental health has awakened because of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Everyone’s mental health has been impacted in one way or another, but the fear of speaking out about it is stronger than before.
Nicole Zhong

Nicole Zhong

Youth Author
Young people should be included on community boards or committees so that there is a voice for us in decision-making at a city and local level. Oftentimes, the problems you encounter and decisions you make tend to affect us more than you realize, yet it seems like you forget that we have thoughts and opinions, too.