YLC dedicated to change the world


Grace Montgomery


When students entered the high school today there were paper hearts on their desks. The reasons for the hearts are to remind every person that they matter and have a story to continue. Messages on the hearts include “You are important,” “You are stunning” and “You matter” along with #ylcsuicidehearts and a crisis hotline. A powerful group called the Youth Leadership Council of Licking County came up with this idea, and their motto is to change the world.

The Youth Leadership Council (YLC) is composed of 57 sophomores, juniors and seniors who live across Licking County. Three of the members go to this high school: senior Zoe Guiney (a 3 year member), junior Sarah Davidson (a 1st year member) and myself (a 2 year member). Every person who joins the YLC is said to have been changed for the better. The organization allows for kids to find confidence, develop leadership and improve decision making abilities.

Members of the YLC include several Granville students. PHOTO COURTESY OF LEZLIE ANKROM
Members of the YLC include several Granville students. PHOTO COURTESY OF LEZLIE ANKROM

Our main message is to make Licking County into a happy, healthy and safe place for kids and adults to work, play and go to school. We educate kids and adults about drug, alcohol and suicide prevention through the projects we do throughout the year. Some of the projects we have completed are Flawsome, which is a campaign to promote how our flaws make us unique; StashtheCrash, which promoted anti-distracted driving countywide; Heels for Hope, a walk to bring awareness about violence against women as well as support a New Beginnings Shelter for women in Licking County abused by domestic violence.

In our school IPROM, or I Promise to Return on Monday, shirts are commonly seen being worn the day before Prom around the high school. This idea was started by the YLC to promote having a safe and drug-free Prom night. The Licking County Leaders Summit, which was a leadership conference that students from across Licking County attended last spring, created the idea of the Club Fair. One of the main components of the conference was to mimic the YLC process of creating a project. Our high school was awarded money by the YLC and effectively produced our first club fair.

Our most recent event we attended was the annual suicide vigil held in Newark. It is meant to end stigma about mental illness and provide comfort for those that have attempted suicide or lost loved ones to it.

One of the advisors of the YLC is Bobby Persinger. Students at the high school may remember 6th grade chats with Bobby about the negative side effects of using cigarettes and tobacco. His fun personality and warm demeanor make the group an inviting and positive family.

The Youth Leadership Council has created a confidence in me that I never knew existed. I was never good at speaking in front of people, but now I communicate not only to 57 other peers, but to hundreds of people in person and on social media. I have also figured out my passions. The YLC is such a supportive group because everyone wants to see one another succeed. No matter what project we do, big or small, the advisors of the group want us to find our voices and feel empowered by the fact that we can change the world.

The only fault of the YLC is the time commitment. In order to get the most out of being in the group it is optimal to attend as many events as possible. Typically there are 3 to 4 projects and public events we attend each month. The only mandatory components of the YLC are to show up to each business meeting held on the first Tuesday of the month and to lead one project. I never have time in the year to attend every single event, but the advisers of the group accept the fact that we have busy lives. By being in the YLC, I look at my schedule more often and I have become better at keeping track of time.

I encourage everyone to join because the experiences gained and the lifelong friends made because of this group are immeasurable. Anyone who walks out of the YLC will have better leadership skills, greater confidence and improved time management. Applications are open in Spring 2016 on the website kidscaretoo.org. To find out about projects, Granville alumni and current council members visit the website as well as our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.