Meet Youth Superstars: YLI Back to School Edition
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YLI Is My Story
Meet Janet Salcedo: Fresno Pacific University Senior & Our Newest YLI Youth Board Member

Janet hopes to some day hold a political office. Assemblymember Henry Perea recently hosted her for a day at Capitol Hill, and she sat with him on the Assembly floor!

"I didn't think that young people's voices mattered. I thought decisions were held in the hands of officials, and I didn't know I had any power. YLI is what I was looking for. I was finally able to make a change on issues that impact me on a daily basis. YLI stepped into my life at a perfect time."  - Janet Salcedo

PBS featured Janet's powerful approach to youth leadership for alcohol prevention in the 2013 television show
Kids Count
When Janet Salcedo moved to Kerman, CA in eighth grade, she was shy. Neither of her parents had completed high school, back injuries limited their ability to perform work, and they sacrificed a lot to make sure Janet and her two siblings had access to education. The Central Valley became a home of hidden opportunity for Janet. "YLI stepped into my life at a perfect time," Janet says. "YLI helped me become confident about myself, and become interested with policy work."

Janet's work with YLI over the past three years in the South East Neighborhood Transportation Team (SENTT) has led a coalition of youth, city officials, and community workers to change the environmental factors in the Central Valley that lead to underage drinking. This past summer, the team launched 5 healthy billboards in South East Fresno to combat negative advertising in their community. You can see Janet in the billboard above (third from right)!

Janet focuses on environmental factors that encourage young people to make healthy decisions. She, along with the SENTT youth, recognize that negative advertising and the saturation of liquor outlets are one of the root causes of violence and underage drinking is in their neighborhood. She participated in a youth-led research project that found 83 liquor retailers within a 1-mile radius of a Fresno High School. These research findings and advocacy work encouraged Fresno city officials to implement policies that restrict liquor advertising.

In addition to her new leadership as a Youth Board Member of Youth Leadership Institute, Janet is also the first youth Board member to the Regional Transportation Plan for Fresno Council of Governments, and has served on the California Youth Council. She is just beginning her senior year as a Communication Studies and Political Science major at Fresno Pacific University.
More Back to School Stories
From Across the State
Marin County Youth Commission (MCYC) Sworn In

In YLI’s Marin office, the most vital social justice program is MCYC. This year the Commission has 18 diverse youth (44% youth of color, 55% male identified, 27% middle school students) from across Marin who will create social change. Supervisor Katie Rice of the Marin County Board of Supervisors swore the Commission in on August 17. Youth commissioners prioritize issues of inequity in Marin that most impact them and their peers. This year, MCYC is focusing on three key issue areas: Education Equity, Food Justice, and Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug (ATOD) Prevention.
MCYC Takes Its 46th Oath

"YOU. You are what is good about this city," San Francisco Mayor's Office representative Theo Miller told our youth leaders, after a youth-led presentation about the needs of young people in San Francisco's public housing sites. City officials acknowledged that a continued partnership that prioritizes the health and well-being of young people is central to the success of this initiative. The meeting also seeded new ideas for cross-city collaborations to bring resources to youth in public housing.
HOPE SF Youth with Theo Miller
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Central Valley Youth Camp
Thanks to our amazing sponsors from PG&E, the Central Valley team had an incredible overnight stay in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains for the annual Youth Leadership Retreat at Camp Sierra. Despite the summer heat and unending swarms of buzzing insects, you can see from our photos that we still managed to make the best out of the situation with team building activities, hikes in the forest, and exciting stories around the campfire. Our staff was especially excited for this year’s retreat, because the agenda was designed as a Youth-Adult Partnership fashion. Our retreat sprouted new energy and networks from our time together, to kick off a great year.
San Mateo Smokefree Ordinance
On September 10, San Mateo City got one step closer to creating a smoke-free environment! YLI youth Will Cruz gave an eloquent and powerful public statement highlighting why smoke-free multi-unit housing is vital for all residents in San Mateo. "All the smoke from the parking lot goes through the windows. It's our right to breathe clean and fresh air. And that's not possible when you have all these chemicals, especially for younger people like my younger brothers," Will told the City Council. With strong leadership in our youth, we continue to see the fruits of the San Mateo County Tobacco Education Coalition and youth-adult partnerships in building a healthier San Mateo County.
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