Voices Heard at New Youth Council

Over the years, OHB has had several varying ways for youth to provide feedback and share ideas for improvements. This concept was developed even further last fall with the formation of the new Youth Council.

A pool tournament hosted by the Youth Council had staff competing against youth. Youth Council Member, Joab, (right) defeated Kelly Armbrust, Farm Manager, to take home the first place trophy.

The Youth Council launched in October 2022 when their first meeting was held. The goal of Youth Council is to provide a safe, open space where youth can have their voices heard – whether that be sharing concerns, providing feedback, planning activities or even addressing issues with services or staff.

The council meets monthly and follows many of the same principles used in the Restorative Justice model, which is used throughout OHB’s programs and encourages open sharing, active listening and engagement.

“Our hope is that Youth Council is a place where we build community and establish trust so that youth participants view it as a safe space to share and bring up concerns,” said Rachel Glenn, Residential Specialist at OHB and a facilitator for Youth Council. “It’s a place where everybody shares and everybody listens.”

Members of Youth Council feel proud that they’re contributing to making OHB better now and for future residents and appreciate that they have an avenue where their voices are heard. One member shared, “Youth Council is about youth for the youth and no idea is shut down. I like that we get to plan fun stuff to do with people here who we normally wouldn’t interact with.”

One of the first things the Youth Council did was to host a pool tournament for staff and youth. Council members planned all aspects of the event, from inviting staff and welcoming guests to developing tournament rules and making trophies.

This year, Rachel would like to see the Youth Council’s membership grow to include current youth who represent all programs as well as former OHB clients in order gain even broader feedback. She also wants the council to continue to plan and execute more youth-led events across campus.

“Participation on Youth Council is a great way for youth to gain leadership skills and develop their planning and organization skills, all things that will benefit them long after their time at OHB,” shared Rachel.