Youth Advisory Council
MOASH’s YAC Collective is a group of six different youth advisory councils, or YACs. A YAC is a group of young people working together to advance adolescent sexual health in MI while building personal and professional knowledge and skills. YACs are youth-driven, with support from adult MOASH staff facilitators and youth co-facilitators. While each YAC has its own focus of work and individual projects, all work in tandem throughout the year to increase statewide impact, build youth relationships and cultures of support among youth and facilitators, optimize collective capacity, and provide a structured and consistent experience for youth development.
Purpose: The goal of the YAC Collective is to improve Sexual and Rreproductive Health and wellness (SRH) among Michigan youth, particularly among youth who experience systemic marginalization or discrimination. This includes promoting traditional health outcomes (reduced STIs, unintended pregnancies, and sexual violence) as well as positive youth development outcomes (increased SRH empowerment and sex positive culture).
YACs meet at least monthly and participate in the following activities throughout the year:
Social bonding and community building with other youth
Training on sexual health topics and leadership skills
Giving feedback (through surveys, focus groups) on youth programs, policies, and resources from other organizations
Planning and hosting their own YAC projects, presentations, and events
What's the YAC Collective?
Michigan Youth Community
MY Community is a youth advisory council that works to address and advocate for the specific needs of LGBTQ+ youth, ages 13-19, from rural communities in Michigan, especially northern Michigan and the UP. Members will serve as a sounding board for those who want student feedback, speak at trainings and events to inform key stakeholders about actions to meaningfully affect students, and advance policies and practices in local school communities.
Michigan Youth Racial Equity Council
The Michigan Youth Racial Equity Council (MY REC) is a youth-led project where people between the ages of 13-24 are paid to receive the education, support, opportunities, and resources necessary to become leaders and advocates addressing important issues related to racial justice, sexual health education and services, and reproductive justice. Members must identify as a person of color (POC), be between the ages of 13-24, and live within the state of MI.
Michigan Youth Consent Advisory Board
MY CAB is a youth advisory council that focuses on empowering girls and nonbinary youth and shifting the culture and climate of consent in Michigan schools. MY CAB exists to inform the services, programs, and materials created for youth by MOASH and other community partners. MY CAB members are involved in various youth advocacy efforts throughout the year and use their voices to improve services for youth across the state, especially as it relates to sexual violence and consent. Members should be 13-19, as we focus on K-12 schools. MY CAB is open to youth who don't identify as boys - nonbinary and trans youth are encouraged to apply.
(This YAC was formerly known as Michgan Youth Girls Advisory Board [MY GAB])
Michigan Youth Trans Voice
MY Trans Voice (MyTV) is a southeast Michigan youth advisory council in collaboration with Stand with Trans that focuses on the unique needs of transgender/non-binary youth. We have representatives (ages 13-19) from several counties (Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne, and St. Clair) and school districts across southeast Michigan. The goal of MyTV is to advocate for trans students in Michigan and to improve conditions for trans youth in their communities. As a group we have engaged in professional development opportunities to increase confidence and ability to advocate on behalf of the trans community. We meet regularly to build community, work on collective goals to help create positive change in the community, and have fun!
Michigan Youth Queer/Trans/Intersex People of Color
MY QTIPOC (Michigan Youth Queer/Trans/Intersex People of Color) is a youth advisory council focused on amplifying, empowering, and centering voices of LGBTQ+ youth of color. Members, ages 13-19, will be involved in panels and other advocacy efforts to dismantle racism in queer communities and homophobia in communities of color, as well as advocate for overall liberation, inclusion, and justice for queer people of color.
Michigan Youth Voice
MY Voice is the youth advisory council that MOASH coordinates. MY Voice exists to inform the services, programs and materials created for youth by MOASH and other community partners. In addition, MY Voice members are involved in various youth advocacy efforts throughout the year and use their voices of experience to improve services for youth across the state. MY Voice members have the opportunity to be trained on a variety of sexual health topics, undergo leadership development, gain communication skills and work on advocacy efforts. There is no specific criteria for members within MY Voice, but each year we try to prioritize diversity in different ways. Members are typically 16-21 but younger youth can be accepted on a case by case basis. The council meets monthly, often in Lansing but also occasionally in other areas of the state.
Applicants must be between the ages of 13-24 and live in Michigan. Different YACs have different age ranges and eligibility criteria based on grant requirements and scope of work. We strongly encourage Black youth and youth of color, youth with disabilities, youth in rural areas, youth living with HIV, expectant and parenting youth, and LGBTQIA2S+ youth to apply. Visit our application info document for helpful details and more info!
Want to join? Here's what you should know
Each individual YAC meets monthly based on member availability for one grant cycle (typically one year from October through September). All groups that form the YAC Collective meet quarterly (four times a year) at one large meeting together. We expect members to be able to attend most of the meetings. While we will have a mix of in-person and virtual meetings next year, all meetings will have a virtual join option for member safety, comfort, and accessibility.
Members are expected to consistently communicate both their availability and capacity in a timely manner to ensure effective collaboration
Authenticity (show up as your whole self, whatever that looks like)
It is also expected that members will complete some additional tasks between meetings, if necessary (like when we run out of time at meetings, have an urgent request for youth feedback or are engaging in a special project)
We expect members to help to create a safe and affirming environment both for themselves, their advisors, and their peers
Members should be passionate about youth advocacy work and inclusivity, regardless of previous experience (or the lack thereof)
Permission from a parent or guardian is required for those ages 17 and under
Fair compensation for your time ($17/hr), expertise, and travel as well as meal support at meetings (in the form of gift cards for online meetings)
Opportunities for leadership development
Training on a variety of sexual and reproductive health and social justice topics
Participation in social media campaigns
Opportunities to give feedback on sex education curricula and other youth advocacy project
Participation in panels and events
Other advocacy work relating to youth rights
Members have a lot of say over what happens throughout the year and we're always open to youth feedback. At all times, youth voice is the priority - feel free to offer ideas about how we can best make YACS work for youth.