Youth Advocacy Institute 2019

By Claudia Plesa, AASB Community Engagement Educator and Coordinator

YAI students on the Capitol steps.


Each year, AASB staff host the Youth Advocacy Institute (YAI) where students from across the state come together to build relationships with their peers and policymakers, while also developing advocacy and leadership skills.

This year, YAI took place Feb. 9-12th, and a total of 32 students and 17 chaperones participated.

YAI participants discussed current bills, practiced testifying, and met with legislators and the Commissioner of Education to discuss their concerns.

In addition to discussions led by AASB staff, YAI also included guest speakers who provide inspiration, tools, and opportunities for youth to practice using their voices to advocate for Alaskan education and schools.

House Representatives participated in a lively question and answer session with the students.

“YAI inspired a lot of student involvement and helped me be more confident in sharing my opinions.” – Youth Participant

Even more exciting, YAI students spent time testifying to the Senate Education Committee on the needs of schools and students in their community.  This allows for youth to identify the needs and strengths of their community, and to advocate with their school boards.

The Senate Education Committee heard student testimony on a range of education issues.

AASB’s Fly-In is also a great opportunity for youth and school board members to spend time together discussing issues faced by students in Alaska schools.   Students get a chance to discuss their ideas for community projects and gather support for when they go back home.

Click on the video below to see our students testify to the Senate Finance Committee. Thank you to Gavel to Gavel for providing a recording of the student testimonies.

“I learned so much, met so many motivated leaders my age and am now inspired to ho home and make changes.” -Youth Participant

To find out more about YAI 2019 contact or call 907-463-1660.

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