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Meet YAC Alumni!

When I think back to my time with YAC, more than 10 years ago, there are several experiences that stick with me today. I was given the opportunity to interact with nonprofits and programs benefiting my community. I experienced positive and meaningful engagement with local youth outside my school and in my community. I engaged with local leaders and positive adult role models. I gained the ability to understand what is needed and wanted in the community to meet needs.

Today, I am working in the nonprofit world and have been for a number of years. Somehow, that early exposure with YAC influenced and helped me figure out my career path to help and support others in our region.

- Kate Kerr, YAC Alum and Regional Program Coordinator for Hope Not Handcuffs 

Ghanian Diplomat Kofi Annan once said, "Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and peace. If, however, they are left on society's margins, all of us will be impoverished. Let us ensure that all young people have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies."

I believe that these words embody what it means to be a part of YAC. As a Benzie County YAC member, I was empowered to make a positive impact in my community and to advocate on behalf of my peers. I learned what it meant to give and to promote social justice, to ask questions, and to use resources responsibly. My academic and professional career have since been dedicated to community engagement and social justice and I truly believe that YAC played a huge role in that decision. I am incredibly grateful for my YAC experience and am thrilled that my journey has brought me back to my Benzie County roots. I hope to continue to use the passion YAC instilled in me to make a positive impact in the Grand Traverse region and beyond.

- Hannah Rodriquez, YAC Alum and Program Officer & YAC Advisor at the Manistee County Community Foundation 

My time as a member of the Leelanau County YAC greatly influenced my understanding of community and my role as a community member. I felt so honored to meet with individuals who had a passion for making our community better and who worked hard to bring resources and programs to our children and families. It was also an empowering experience to decide collectively as a Council what programs we wanted to support. Through it, I gained a deeper sense of our needs as a community and what it would take to address or solve them. That experience cultivated my passion for helping others. 

- Cassidy Fisher, YAC Alum