Youth Opportunity Project
Youth Voice Matters
We are excited to announce that 11 students were selected from across the state for the inaugural Youth Opportunity Project Council. The Youth Opportunity Project aims to provide students the opportunity to gain leadership skills, network with peers and key-decision makers while helping to create meaningful change and impact in out-of-school time programming throughout the state.
Participants are South Dakota teens ages 13 and older who attend out-of-school time programs in their communities. They have first-hand experience regarding the impact these programs have made in their own lives, the lives of their families and community. Through monthly virtual meetings participants will provide a youth voice to a variety of issues faced. Students will work on building leadership skills and explore advocacy through interactions during Day at the Capitol mid-January in Pierre where students will have the opportunity to learn about our state’s legislative system and the many moving parts that create change and impact.
Participants will be led by Madelyn Hinkleman, a junior at Summit High School who has taken on the title of Youth Advocate Coordinator with SDAN. Madelyn will work under the guidance of SDAN’s Dawn Marie Johnson, Director of Leadership & Culture to plan and implement a robust experience for participants, giving them a valuable learning experience and outlet to provide meaningful insight that programs throughout the state can benefit from.
“Madelyn is a passionate and accomplished young woman,” said Dawn Marie Johnson, Director of Leadership & Culture for SDAN. “Her drive and tenacity are exhilarating and I’m excited to see her shine in this role as we work together to launch the Youth Opportunity Project and lay the groundwork for what will become an annual opportunity for teens across the state.”
Teens joining Madeyln as the inaugural Youth Opportunity Project Council include:
- Shaylee Arrendondo, Sioux Falls
- Amy Barillas, Sioux Falls
- Olivia Kolbrek, Sioux Falls
- Caleb Messhesha, Sioux Falls
- Yusuf Mire, Sioux Falls
- Lily Pressler, Watertown
- Liza Purdy, Summit
- Jaxon Sheff, Montrose
- Ella Weber, Montrose