GCHS junior Ben Nelson recently completed a term with the Kentucky Teen Institute (KTI), a program of the KY YMCA Youth Association (KYA). Nelson served on the Youth Advisory Board (YAB), an advocacy and leadership group of college and high school students from throughout the state.
The KTI program develops teen leadership skills and encourages advocacy, particularly of health-related concerns, as student teams identify an issue in their community, then design and implement a project to address it.
Nelson worked with teams as they prepared for the program’s culmination, Kentucky Youth Advocacy Day, coming up in January at the State Capitol. During that event, students will present their projects directly to their legislators. Topics included community violence, school tobacco policies, bullying and suicide prevention among others.
Nelson has participated in all of the programs offered by KYA, of which KTI is the newest. He called it a “great thing to be a part of and it really taught me a lot.” He added that the program provides “an opportunity for students to get their voices out on issues they’re passionate about,” and encourages youth to take more active roles in their communities.