Students participating in the Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) program at Beach Middle School got a chance to learn about leadership directly from Chelsea leaders last week.
During a leadership panel on February 28, four local leaders shared their experiences and answered students’ questions about leadership and community improvement. Participants in the leadership panel were:
- Julie Deppner, Executive Director of Silver Maples and President of the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce
- Marcus Kaemming, Executive Director of Instruction, Curriculum, and Human Resources for Chelsea School District
- Lorna Tackwell, Agent/Owner at JDW & Associates and President of the Rotary Club of Chelsea
- Megan Torrance, CEO of Torrance Learning
The Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) program was developed by the University of Michigan School of Public Health Prevention Research Center to help middle school students develop the knowledge and skills they need to plan and lead community change projects. With permission from the original authors, the SRSLY Coalition has adapted the YES curriculum and has been implementing the program in Chelsea for nearly 10 years.
Twenty students are participating in the YES program at Beach this year, with more than 100 students participating since SRSLY first started the program. This year, the students will be meeting for five YES workshops, where they have been learning about leadership, teamwork, and community wellness.
During their final two meetings, the youth will plan community change projects using funds provided by the Chelsea Friends and Family Wellness Coalition and the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation. Past YES projects have included: “Operation Active,” an after-school field day at Beach Middle School; “Leap for Faith,” a collection of birthday party supplies for families at Faith in Action; and “Tipping the Line,” an awareness campaign about the Chelsea Police Department’s anonymous tip line.
SRSLY believes that the best way to make positive changes in our community, and reduce harmful behaviors like underage drinking and drug use, is to let youth take the lead. The YES Program is preparing them to do just that.