Each year Florida Youth SHINE representatives from each chapter and mentors f head to Tallahassee for Children’s Week. Our young advocates flood the capitol to speak to dozens of legislators, staff, public officials, and bring awareness to the issues affecting the child welfare system.
Before heading to the capitol FYS participates in an intensive weekend training where they share stories, process issues, have leadership training, learn to work as a team, develop talking points, learn about strategic sharing, speaking with the media, effective advocacy, how bills become laws, about the government structures and budget, and prepare for their meetings with the legislators. FYS hears from guest speakers and many statewide experts.
Following the FYS training they head to the capitol that Monday morning to kick off Children’s Week. They get to walk the steps of the capitol, and feel confident and empowered to change the world. While they are in Tallahassee they meet with dozens of legislators and testify before Senate and House committees. Each year they share their stories about what they feel needs to change in the system. Additionally, they develop and facilitate a youth advocacy workshop that is part of the United Way’s Children’s Week event. Hundreds of youth attend this and learn effective advocacy from their peers. This event proves that when FYS speaks people listen!