Valley's Voice Youth Respond to COVID-19 through Protect Our Valley Social Media Campaign
If you have not heard about Valley’s Voice yet, you definitely will!
Valley’s Voice is housed within Mountain Youth and funded through a variety of grant resources, Communities That Care being one. The primary function of Valley’s Voice is to offer every young person in Eagle County the opportunity to identify an issue, develop a project proposal to address the issue, and then to implement the project with Valley’s Voice’s financial and leadership support. The entire process is deeply aligned with Positive Youth Development, a paradigm for building up assets that youth have that then serve as protective factors: those characteristics that support healthy decision making.
Being youth-led is the key component that makes Valley’s Voice successful. In fact, the entire concept, structure, and operations are led by 14 high school students who represent almost every high school in Eagle County. If any youth from VMS is interested, please be in touch! These 14 young leaders serve as the Youth Executive Board. They have an adult liaison who helps with logistics and, at times, provides experiential advice. Andore Horruitiner, a Youth Executive Board member says, "Valley's voice has been a foundation for a new beginning; a period of change in my life. Valley's voice has helped me take initiative to make a change for the world and raise my voice, to be someone.”
Here’s the best part! The young leaders on the Youth Executive Board and project leads for Passion Projects are paid for their time! For those youth who are leading other youth, the rate is 17$ per hour and youth who are working on specific projects earn 15$ per hour. This is a nice part time job for youth who choose to become involved. Philosophically, it is critical that the youth voice be rewarded when it is youth who are creating solutions for issues they face. The motto is: “nothing for youth without youth”. Greta Grems says, Through Valley’s Voice I have learned about problems that youth are facing in the valley and how we can problem solve to help those problems.”
The project that is gaining the most attention at this point is led by Ethan Pyke and is a Youth Response to COVID-19 called “ProtectOurValley”. Via Instagram and other social networking platforms, Ethan is facilitating challenges specific to the youth population to support social distancing. Beyond contributing to the overall health of Eagle County, these young people want to invest now so that they can have social time with their friends sooner in the future. “As influencers, we can make a difference for what our whole community needs”, says Ethan. Since the start of his project, ProtectOurValley has accumulated 398 followers. New challenges are announced every Wednesday. Previous challenges include “Quaran-teen challenge” & “Secret Life of Quarantined Pets”. All youth are invited to participate by Direct Messaging a photo or video to ProtectOurValley on Instagram. The submission with the most “likes” will win a 25$ gift card of their choice. There are also prizes for 2nd and 3rd place runners. Ethan invites everyone to participate in this challenge.
Follow Protect Our Valley on Instagram
For more information about Valley’s Voice, check out the web page at www.valleysvoice.org or email Karsen Williams, Recruitment Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Every youth has an opportunity to be part of a solution.