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Polk County Public Health - First Youth Advisory Board launched

Crookston Daily Times - 12/24/2018

Dec. 20--The new Polk County Youth Advisory Board is officially a thing, with two Crookston High School students being joined by seven other high school students from across the county.

CHS students Audrey Harbott and Eliza Meyer joined their fellow YAB members at the Polk County Government Center this week to introduce themselves to the Polk County Board of Commissioners. The students, appointed by the county board, will serve two-year terms.

The commissioners earlier this year green-lighted the formation of the board, which will be housed under the Polk County Public Health umbrella.

The YAB will provide an opportunity for young people in Polk County to become involved in governmental public health services, and merging civic engagement and leadership development opportunities for high school students. By engaging youth, PCPH's goal is to bring new energy, information and knowledge into its mission-based work.

PCPH's mission statement is "Communities where all people achieve their optimum health potential. PCPH Director Sarah Reese says the YAB will serve a critical role in living up to that mission statement by working in youth circles to take a proactive approach to health issues. Youth from birth to age 17 make up 24 percent of Polk County's population, according to the 2016 Census, she noted.

The creation of the YAB is on one hand the culmination of a PCPH vision shared for some time; but on the other hand, Reese said, this is a launching point.

"The creation of a YAB has been part of our local public health vision for a few years. We are excited to see the YAB come to fruition," she said. "As a community and youth-serving organization, Public Health values input from local youth, and further, their valuable insights and feedback are required from some funders to assess needs and implement applicable health services."

Another goal is for the YAB to help shape tomorrow's adult leaders.

"As part of developing future leaders of our communities, youth will plan, implement and reflect on limited yet meaningful programming determined by the YAB," Reese said.

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(c)2018 Crookston Times, Minn.

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