A Collective Voice

New youth council empowers students, like Xandir and Jordan (pictured above)

   Thanks to the influence of the Building Bridges Initiative, Highfields is enhancing programs and creating new opportunities for students.

   One example is youth council where students have a chance to voice their opinions, make decisions, and address challenges.

   “The purpose of youth council is to create new ideas and help come up with solutions to problems,” said youth council member, Jordan.

   The youth council was developed based on Building Bridges strategies, like promoting open dialogue, effective relationships, and feedback between youth, their community and treatment providers.

   “We believe this opportunity will enhance treatment and create positive outcomes for students and staff," said Chris Jurasek, Manager of Clinical Services.

   The youth council was formed in January. Eight students were selected by peers and staff to serve on the council. The youth council members represent the voices of their house.

   “We talk about campus culture, issues to deal with, give input on programming, and suggestions for staff,” said Jordan. “We make sure everyone is heard.”

   Residential staff also attends the meetings to help facilitate, listen, and find solutions to problems.

   “Empowering students to use their voices and make decisions gives them skills to succeed when they return home,” said Chris.  

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