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Local teen serving community through Governor’s Youth Commission

9/7/16

Elizabeth Medora
Staff

ANTHEM – Anthem teen Nicole Sherwood is making a difference in the community and in the entire state as part of the Governor’s Youth Commission. This diverse group of Arizona high schoolers represents every county in the state and focuses on making the state a better place for everyone.

“It’s a really unique opportunity for kids to be able to serve the community at a state level,” Sherwood, who is a junior at Anthem Prep, said. She was eager to get involved with the Governor’s Youth Commission, calling it a “really amazing opportunity to meet new people and really make a difference on a state level.”

At the Governor’s Youth Commission Web site, beseenbeheard.az.gov, the purpose of the commission is defined as: “engage youth through innovative programs, events and campaigns that effectively serve their communities in areas that are most meaningful to them.” The youth involved learn how to serve on a board, participate in committees, plan service projects, and events, and partner with teachers, parents, schools, community organizations, and local businesses.

Sherwood heard about the Youth Commission through her work as a co-leader at community organization Believe in Anthem. She applied as a sophomore and was appointed as a junior. The process includes a comprehensive application and an interview at the capitol.

This year, 51 participants are on the commission. Sherwood noted that there were 34 open spots and 204 applicants for those spots.

“So I was very lucky to be one of the ones who was selected,” she said.

The Governor’s Youth Commission aims to inspire youth to take the lead in making Arizona a better place. The Youth Commission teams are focusing on substance abuse, bullying, teen dating violence, distracted driving, and promoting civics education as issues that are affecting teens currently. Sherwood is on the committee for teen dating violence, and she feels that is vital to talk about what is often a taboo subject and help teens make smart, healthy choices.

“It’s really important to raise awareness about it,” she said.

Two years in a row, Arizona’s youth completed the most youth-led service projects, during Global Youth Service Day. In 2015, Arizona youth logged over 90,000 hours of volunteer service, and they’re looking to break that record this year.

To learn more about the volunteer work of the Governor’s Youth Commission, see beseenbeheard.az.gov.