Thursday, November 4, 2010

YUGA Takes Shape in Maryland

Some YUGA Chapters have been able to get started quickly and easily. With the strong support of teachers and the principal, YUGA chapters can quickly come together and have a strong presence in schools. Our online issue toolkits, including the How to Start a YUGA Chapter toolkit, can help students become positive activists in their community.
Sometimes, however, students can run into obstacles to getting their group started. For sisters Nadyah and Jana, getting approval for a YUGA Chapter was a longer process than they had anticipated. "Things don't always turn out the way you want them to" says Nadyah. "I had many obstacles to face...But with the help of all the YUGA resources it was MUCH easier to get started."
She first met with her school's principal, but was asked to wait nearly two months for a response. After going through a lengthy approval process, she wasn't able to campaign for many of YUGA's issues. However, Nadyah was persistent with her school administrators and they were able to make a compromise. Nadyah's principal agreed to use some of the YUGA toolkits to help make her school a 'Green School,' an accreditation from the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE). She's also scheduling a school assembly with ACE, the Alliance for Climate Education, who we heard this summer at YUGA Leadership Camp. By focusing on YUGA's campaign for climate change, Nadyah is able to get her peers involved with environmental sustainability and make a difference in her community.
"This wasn't what I had fully hoped for it to be," says Nadyah, "but by starting a small chapter, hopefully I will be able to advocate even more."
Kudos to Nadyah and Jana, who continue to fight for their voices to be heard!
If you'd like help with getting your YUGA chapter started, visit the Plan website at www.planusa.org/youth, or contact Corrie at corrie.bonham@planusa.org.

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