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Four Ravens Selected for New YMCA Teen Racial Equity Council
Four students who were selected for the YMCA Teen Racial Equity Council

At top, Christina Graham ’23 and Nyla Moore ’24; at bottom, Sara Baende ’23 and Chloe Adams ’23 

Four Ravens — Chloe Adams ’23, Christina Graham ’23, Nyla Moore ’24 and Sara Baende ’23 — have been selected as members of the inaugural YMCA of the Triangle Teen Racial Equity Council, which was introduced in the fall.

The students learned of the opportunity through their involvement in the Youth and Government program at Ravenscroft. YAG is a nationwide YMCA initiative that helps prepare high school students for leadership through experiential learning as delegates at an annual conference in their home state.

As the digital flyer announcing the Teen Racial Equity Council (below right) notes, “The YMCA of the Triangle’s Mission demands that we advance racial equity and inclusion for all. The Teen Racial Equity Council serves to strengthen knowledge and capacity to eliminate racial disparities and build more equitable communities and youth programs. Youth and Government is stronger when we listen to diverse perspectives as we make programmatic decisions. At the N.C. Youth Legislative Conference, council members help to ensure positive experiences for all.”

For these Ravenscroft students, serving on the council feels like a natural extension of the work they’ve been doing in YAG and beyond.

A flyer showing the members of the Teen Racial Equity Council

“I got involved with YAG during my sophomore year and have been participating on the judicial side through Mock Trial and Court of Appeals ever since. This year, I am serving on the Executive Board for YAG, and part of that includes supporting newcomers,” Chloe explained. “When I heard about this new council, I took it as an opportunity to continue similar work: helping YAG participants feel welcome and have a sense of belonging during the conference.”

“The application asked us to write about why we genuinely have a passion for racial equity and equality. I wrote about how, for me, racial equity and equality programs are so much more than just a pretty addition to a resume. Instead, they are settings that require voices like mine to allow and push necessary changes to be made,” Christina said. “I wrote that — no matter if my impact would be on a YMCA high school civic program or nationwide — I'd love to be an instrument to push equity and equality in the proper direction.”

With council meetings already underway, Ravenscroft’s members said they’re working hard to make good on those goals.

 “My work with YAG and the YMCA Teen Racial Equity Council connects with things I am passionate about because it provides me with the opportunity to create meaningful and positive change,” Nyla said. “It gives me a voice and a platform where I can embrace other ideas and work with others to push my passions forward. I am able to identify problems and collaborate with others to find solutions for positive change.”

“When I found out that I had been selected, I was super excited to learn even more about the program and was looking forward to the first meeting. I love being in the meetings and sharing my ideas because I feel like I am truly making a difference,” Sara added. “I know that the ideas that we discuss will come to life at the Youth and Government conference, and I can’t wait to see how everything plays out!”

YAG advisor Sean Kennedy applauded the vision and commitment these students have shown. He also noted with pride that Ravenscroft is the most-represented school on the council.

“It says a lot about the thoughtfulness of our students that their applications were accepted to have a role in advising the YMCA on matters related to DE&I,” he explained. “To have this many people selected for this council is a sign our students are eager to participate in creating positive change beyond our campus.”

The students agreed.

“Throughout our meetings I've seen myself and the other council members use our voices and passion to make suggestions and have conversations necessary to encourage equity and fairness in our Youth and Government conference,” Christina said.

“I believe it is important to cultivate a space in which all individuals are valued and treated with respect,” Chloe concluded, “so it is an honor to foster inclusivity and equity within N.C. Youth and Government.”