By Chris Oshana, former Youth Advisory Council Member
When I reflect on my time with the School-Based Health Alliance Youth Advisory Council, I think of my immense growth as a person, advocate, and life-long learner. I joined the council at the beginning of my first year of college. I had to navigate a whole new school environment with classes, clubs, work, and the YAC. By learning the ropes from veteran YAC members, I understood the importance of school-based health centers and how they operate in the greater scope of society’s healthcare and education sectors. Being on the council taught me immense time management skills, how to meet deadlines in a supportive work environment, and effectively communicate with those “above,” “below,” and equal to you in an organization’s hierarchy. I put above and below in quotation marks because, at SBHA, everyone is treated with empathy, respect, and kindness to the point where you feel like an equal team member, even to the President/CEO of the organization. My time on the council also shaped my future career goals; as I enter dental school in the Fall of 2023, I have plans to become an FQHC/SBHC dentist who works with dentally underserved populations in our country. SBHA has taught me how important this work is, and I hope to live a life that serves people who are the most in need of my assistance as a skilled professional. I am eternally grateful for the experiences I’ve had on the Youth Advisory Council, and I could not have done this without the support of my fellow YAC members, facilitators, and other SBHA staff members. I will take the memories and lessons I’ve learned with me for the rest of my life.