YELS 2019 Presenters
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If you would like to connect with one of the following youth presenters from YELS 2019, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch!
Keynote Speaker- Advocacy, Leadership, and Inevitable Change
Janaan is a leader both inside and outside of her school community. She hopes to empower students to create the change they want to see in their schools. Ahmed is one of the students leading the charge to change the name of her high school, which is named for Founding Father and former slave owner Patrick Henry. Janaan is the student representative on the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) board, has been a member of the Minneapolis Youth Congress, sat on the Beacons Leadership Team, participated in panel discussions and seminars on diverse topics throughout the city and across the country, and participated for more than eight years in Girls Inc.
Keynote: How Youth Can Lead the Climate Justice Movement
Maddy is a Sophomore at Edina High School. Maddy is the National Press Director for the recent US Youth Climate Strike, and is part of many organizations including MN Can’t Wait, Youth Environmental Activists of MN, and Sunrise. Whether it was watching C-Span in math class or participating in complex debates over policy, she has always been very involved and interested in politics and the press.
Keynote Speaker- Connecting with People Affected by Dementia
Edie Weinstein lives in St. Paul and is a sophomore at Visitation High School. She wrote the Book Grandpa and Lucy: A Story About Love and Dementia for a Girl Scout Silver Award project when she was 14 years old. When Edie reads the book, people better understand ways to communicate with those with dementia. Edie has sold over 1200 books.
Edie loves creating; she enjoys writing short and long stories, poetry, and even school essays. When Edie isn’t writing, attending theatre rehearsals at VISTA Theatres or Rosetown Playhouse, she can be found sailing and water skiing in the brief Minnesota summers, swing dancing at Wabasha Street Caves all year round, and snow skiing in the winter.
Facebook (inkypuppypaws), Twitter (@InkyPuppyPaws)
Effectively Organizing for Change
Eleanor Dolan is the executive director at Indivisible Students, a student led organization that engages students in progressive politics by providing them with job opportunities on campaigns and partner organizations, fundraising and event planning. On top of this, Eleanor is a leader of the gun violence prevention movement in Minnesota, a climate activist, and a sophomore at Minnetonka High School. She has recently organized the Climate Strike and Walk Out To Vote in Minnesota.
Harita is a Junior at Eastview High School. Harita likes how kind and safe her community is. In school she participates in speech, debate and volleyball. She is inspired by her mom because she is so humble and hardworking. In her spare time you will find her reading or watching youtube.
Hannah is a Sophomore at Greenway High School and a member of the Minnesota Youth Council. “I consider myself a very hard working and driven person. I love educating others, and I want to learn as much about the world as possible. I’m passionate about protecting the environment, raising awareness of and preventing human trafficking, and providing a safe learning environment for all students."
How Classroom Racism Affects Us
Brooklynn is a 9th grader at Avalon School.
What's Your Story? The Power of Podcasting
Ekram is a 15 year old sophomore who enjoys photography, reading and writing as well as making memories and laughing with friends and family. She is the head writer of the realistic fiction podcast series Broad Spectrum as uploaded on the StoryArk Network and enjoyed on Apple Podcast and other similar directories.
Juwaria Jama, Zamzam Abdullahi & Amy Haney
Do's and Dont's: Addressing Mental Health
Juwaria Jama (left) is a freshman at Spring Lake Park high school, she is a first year member of the Minnesota Youth Council and a student leader in MN Can’t Wait. She’s passionate about social justice and activism.
Zamzam Abdullahi (middle) is a freshman at Rochester Stem Academy, and is also a first year member in the Minnesota Youth Council. She has great interest in helping people, and hopes to help as many people as possible.
Amy Haney (right) is a senior at Dream Technical Academy in rural Willmar, MN. As a second year member of the Minnesota Youth Council, she believes in youth voice being heard. She often spends her time participating in political activism groups!
Mimi Le is a Junior at Eastview High School and a member of the Minnesota Youth Council. She strives to empower and uplift the youth in her community and all of the youths in Minnesota. Her goal in life is to be a lawyer and fight to put an end to the exploitation of undocumented workers in America.
The Importance of Student Representation on School Boards
Fatima Menawa is a senior attending Stillwater Area High School, as well as a third-year member of the Minnesota Youth Council. Fatima also serves as a second-year member on the Minnesota Alliance with Youth board of directors and is co-founder and current President of SAHS Black Student Union. Fatima is passionate about youth representation and advocacy in policy at both local and state levels and hopes to see more youth activism and collaboration.
Raina Meyer is a Senior at MN Online High School and a member of the Minnesota Youth Council. “I have been fascinated by politics and wanted to make positive change in Minnesota ever since I can remember. I am so proud to be Minnesotan, and I think being a member of the MYC is the best way for me to use my enthusiasm and ideas to help amplify youth voice. I also love being able to interact with other young people who are as passionate about politics as me. A few issues I care deeply about are gun violence prevention, especially in regard to domestic violence, closing the opportunity gap (Minnesota unfortunately has one of the worst gaps in the nation), and increasing youth involvement and interest in politics.”
What's Your Story? The Power of Podcasting
Sun has been dreaming up stories since he was in elementary school. He has been involved with StoryArk since 2015, was on the original Youth Advisory Board and helped start the sci-fi podcast HUSH. As one of the head writers for HUSH, Sun organized the HUSH storybible, wrote and revised scripts. He plays the role of Charlotte and serves a student mentor to the Broad Spectrum podcast team. His poems have also been featured in The Boom Site Literary Magazine.
The Importance of Student Representation on School Boards
Shreya Ram is a senior at Wayzata High School and a member of the Minnesota Youth Council (MYC). She has worked with the Wayzata School District to outline ways to include students on the Wayzata School Board. Shreya is also a captain on her school's debate and mock trial teams, and she works with the Minnesota Alliance with Youth alongside the MYC.
How Classroom Racism Affects Us
Zayda Townsend is a freshman at Avalon High School. She is passionate about social justice and looks forward to leading a session!
Asian Media Access
Arts for Social Change
The Asian Media Access Youth Team is a group of teens dedicated to utilize multimedia to have their voices heard, and to take on leadership to dramatically increasing media products among disadvantaged youth and fostering collaboration. Presenters for this group are:
Nou Her: Nou loves dancing and their favorite subject is science. “I love reading and fiction novels. I got to school at Hopkins Senior High. I am planning on finishing high school and going on to pursue higher education.”
August Lo: “I am the second youngest of 5 and I am going to be 16 this year. I go to a pretty small Hmong school in Brooklyn Park called Prairie Seeds Academy. I love dancing and learning how to code, so Asian Media Access is a really good place to learn and do both.”
Johnny Thao: I love doing a lot of physical things, for example, playing sports and dancing. I am a Junior at Patrick Henry High School. After school, I plan on going to college and hopefully I find out what I want to become.”
Change to Chill, Hopkins High School
Change to Chill
Change to Chill™ is an award winning, mental well-being program aimed at helping teens become more aware of the things that stress them out and equipping them with relevant tools and resources to better manage stress and anxiety, so they can live happier, more resilient lives through an interactive website tailored to both teens and the adults who work with them.
Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton House of Students
Creating a Foundation of Student Representation at DGF High School
The Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton House of Students was recently formed this year with the vision of changing our school for the better. The idea was to create a group that was constantly motivated and not just a popularity contest. We formed our own constitution that outlined our duties, powers and group requirements. After forming our constitution we were approved by the principal and social studies teachers whom helped us hold representative election. Now, we are looking to improve our school by working with the administration on policy, curriculum and many other issues in our school.
Hopkins Wellness Committee
The Prevalence of Vaping in High Schools
The Hopkins Wellness Committee is a student club that works to promote a culture of health and wellness for all of the Hopkins High School student body. During the 2017-2018 school year, the Student Wellness Committee identified vaping as an issue they wanted to tackle due to increasing prevalence of teen vaping both in and out of school. This group of student leaders collaborated with a variety of community partners to increase awareness on this emerging epidemic and advocate for local passage of T21, and helped create posters to address common teen misconceptions around vaping, which are now available for schools to use statewide.
Hopkins Royals United
Royals United Mental Health Awareness Campaign
Royals United is a student-led initiative that works collaboratively with staff and administration to improve student mental health supports. It is co-funded by Hopkins Education Foundation and Hopkins Community Education, and a partnership between Hopkins One Voice Coalition and Hopkins High School.
Little Falls Student Improv Troupe
Making an Impact- One Scene at a Time
The Little Falls Student Improv Troupe uses improv-style theater to develop and present scenes to initiate conversations around difficult topics to bring awareness, understanding, acceptance, and solutions to classrooms and community organizations. The Troupe was formed in 2015 and has developed scenes focused on social issues such as drug use prevention and intervention, bullying prevention and intervention, suicide prevention, mental health awareness and intervention, recognizing unhealthy relationships, building healthy relationships, and student advocacy.
People for PSEO
The Impact of the PSEO Program
People for PSEO is an organization committed to informing, promoting, defending and expanding opportunities for Minnesota students via the Postsecondary Enrollment Options (“PSEO”) program. The mission of People for PSEO is to work with families, students, education institutions and law makers to inform, promote, defend and expand opportunities for Minnesota students via the Postsecondary Enrollment Options (“PSEO”) program through speaking, writing, conferences, social media and other functions.
REACH Mentoring- Students Offering Support- SOS
SOS (Students Offering Support): Building Protective Factors & SEL through Service-Learning
SOS is a peer leadership team focused on addressing factors that may lead to suicide. REACH’s SOS engages youth to create a supportive community, inspired by work being done by local leaders, and to develop and implement service-learning projects. The SOS model builds youth leadership by cultivating peer group mentoring relationships focused on acting to address local needs, teaching social-emotional skills, building informal/non-formal learning strategies to bolster protective factors with Carlton County youth.
At StoryArk, we ask students in middle school and high school: "What's your story? How do you want to tell it?" Youth respond by creating original narrative podcasts, short films, comedy web series, and publishing a literary magazine filled with poetry, prose and visual arts. Find us at storyark.org and on facebook (storyark.org), twitter (@storyarkonline) and instagram (@storyarkonline).
Students Demand Action
How to Fight Against Gun Violence
Maya Sprenger-Otto and Khadija Sharif are leaders of Students Demand Action, a group of young adults dedicated to gun violence prevention advocacy. Our main objective is to ensure that every student feels safe in and outside of their learning environment. We advocate for the passing of common sense gun violence prevention legislation that makes every Minnesotan safer.
Twitter: (@StudentActionMN), Instagram: (@studentactionmn), Facebook: (@StudentActionMN)
YEA!MN and MN Can't Wait
How Youth Can Lead the Climate Justice Movement
Youth Environmental Activists Minnesota (YEA! MN) is a network of high school students taking action for a just transition to a resilient climate future for all.
MN Can't Wait: Minnesota can’t wait for bold, but necessary, action to combat climate change. We, the young people of Minnesota, are calling on our leaders to do what’s needed for our state to stop emitting greenhouse gases and be fossil fuel free within a decade. We want a transition to clean renewable energy that is equitable for all Minnesotans because the longer we delay, the more it threatens the health, safety, and happiness of our generation and all who follow.
YMCA Beacons/ Edison High School & Patrick Henry High Shcool
Youth Participatory Action Research
This project is led by young people in the Minneapolis Beacons Program from Edison and Patrick Henry High Schools. We are a Youth Participatory Action Research group. Our session will be a discussion about mental health and the awareness and services we want in our high schools.