Salt Lake County Commission on Youth (COY) is a county-wide board with a wide range of professionals, parents and individuals dedicated to the success of youth. All the local school districts are represented, as well as social workers, nonprofit agencies, elected officials and parents. COY is unique that there is a diversity of opinion and experiences–if you totaled up all the years of professional experiences at one table it would be hundreds! The COY Board provides a wealth of knowledge and resources for every member. The meetings provide an opportunity to learn about current issues affecting youth, practical strategies and resources to help students/families succeed. There’s a wide variety of agency representatives who are available to assist and offer their expertise in all domains of a student’s life. Working together on behalf, and with, students and families is making a positive impact!
Diversity is COY’s strength; the ability to look at issues from a number of different angles. Youth also serve on COY, and COY sponsors the Salt Lake County youth government which provides another very important voice: that of youth. It has been a privilege to serve as the COY chair since 2012 and I admire the professionals, staff and passionate individuals that make it happen. COY established and expanded youth government efforts county-wide. The students are extremely engaged in helping and improving conditions for others. I am always impressed with the wide variety of projects they plan and implement. Many youth government students attend COY meetings and just beam when sharing their latest outreach activities. They are a well-organized and passionate group of young people. Their leadership and contribution is astounding!
When I (Carrie Rogers-Whitehead) joined COY in 2009 I was new in my career and when I walked into that board room with the amazing passionate professionals I was very intimidated. When I took a seat I was surrounded by individuals working in the court system, nonprofit leadership, businesses and more, the first few meetings I was honored to listen and soak up the years of experience in that room.
As the current chair I feel it is my responsibility to help guide the meetings and conversations…but also to sometimes sit back and learn. Through listening and learning how we all are interconnected to serve youth, opportunities have arisen. COY members have been able to promote their work and events through the board, as well as develop partnerships. Most recently COY has partnered with Volunteers of America, Salt Lake County Health Department, Salt Lake County Youth Services and the Salt Lake County Library in an effort to focus on young mothers. I feel there are few boards and places where such a varied group can come together. I continue to learn from COY after all these years and look forward to see what COY will accomplish next.
You can look forward to hearing about the latest COY award recipients on May 19th by Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams as youth and youth advocacy groups are nominated throughout the county and voted to win the annual award for providing the best community service to and for youth in 2014.
If you would like more information about the awards or the Mayor Appointed COY Board visit www.youth.slco.org or call 385-468-4502.