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Family Services of Westchester’s Youth Council Members Advocate Youth Development Funding in NY State Youth Leadership Forum

Westchester County Junior Youth Council member and White Plains resident Jacob Furry, right, with Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88th District) at the NY State Association of Youth Bureau’s Youth Leadership Forum in Albany, Feb. 10-11.
Westchester County Junior Youth Council member and White Plains resident Jacob Furry, right, with Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88th District) at the NY State Association of Youth Bureau’s Youth Leadership Forum in Albany, Feb. 10-11.

Two members of the Westchester County Youth Council (WCYC), a program of Family Services of Westchester (FSW), visited the state capital to participate in the NY State Association of Youth Bureau’s Youth Leadership Forum Feb. 10 and 11. Senior Council member Nina Joung, 18, of Ardsley, and Junior Council member Jacob Furry, 13, of White Plains, were given the opportunity to meet with elected officials representing their communities including Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88th District), Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti (D-92nd District), and an aid for Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins. 

In their meeting, Joung and Furry advocated in favor of funding youth development programs like WCYC. In their own words, the youth council members shared the impact the program has made on their lives, and urged officials to continue funding streams that make positive youth development programming possible in Westchester. Joung and Furry also got a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Assembly floor.

At 13, Jacob Furry is the youngest WCYC member to participate in an Albany advocacy trip, a long-standing annual tradition. He also recently spoke at the third annual Next Generation Legislative Breakfast, co-sponsored by FSW and presented by the Child Care Council of Westchester and the Westchester Children’s Association. The Feb. 28 breakfast brought together county and New York State legislators to answer questions from young people about public policy and public programs affecting children and youth. 

“Nina and Jacob are just two examples of Westchester County Youth Council members being a positive voice for our community,” said Alma Evans, program coordinator. “The Albany advocacy trip gives our members the chance to practice the skills they need to become successful community activists and problem solvers.”

Established in 2000, the Westchester County Youth Council is a teen-run, multi-issue youth advocacy program. The mission of the WCYC is to empower teens to become an active voice and sounding board throughout Westchester County for important issues of county responsibility, such as civic engagement, leadership development, environmentalism, dating abuse prevention, sexual health, racial justice, gender equity, substance abuse prevention, anti-bullying, and LGBTQ issues. The Westchester County Youth Council consists of two distinct groups: The Junior Youth Council, for youth ages 10-14, and The Senior Youth Council, for youth ages 14-18.

The Westchester County Youth Council was the winner of the 2001 Westchester Children’s Association Youth Leadership Award and has received recognition from Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, the County Legislature and members of the New York State Assembly and Senate.

About Family Services of Westchester:

FSW was founded in 1954 and runs more than 50 social service and mental health programs for all ages, including Head Start, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Adult and Youth Residences and Veterans Outreach and Support. Visit www.fsw.org for more information.

 

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