Youth Advisory Council Reflection

By Baila Salifou, former SBHA Youth Advisory Council member

The following reflects Baila’s lived experiences, thoughts, and opinions.

I was in my AP Biology class when my principal came into class and personally handed me a package from the School-Based Health Alliance. He placed it on my desk and told me there was an opportunity that he thought I would be a perfect fit for. The School-Based Health Alliance Youth Advisory Council was looking to fill in spots for their next cycle of council members. I had always been an advocate in my community for adolescent mental health and youth civic engagement and generally was always interested in public speaking. From the beginning of my time on the council, I was introduced to an entirely new experience where I would connect with like-minded peers, work with school-based health care professionals, and even gain an internship with the Yale play2PREVENT Lab. I came into the council a bit shy during our meetings. As I warmed up to the team, put myself out there with new opportunities, and practiced public speaking; I began to feel more confident and comfortable with sharing my ideas. Being on the council was a crucial part of my growth, and I have seen the skills I developed during my time here bleed into other aspects of my life. I’ve experienced mini-mentorship sessions with Nicole Korp and Seleena Moore, who were amazing mentors throughout my journey. They helped guide council members and supported us whenever we needed them. Through my internship, I also worked under Katy Stinchfield, who was my guardian Angel when it came to helping me navigate my new role for an important national research initiative. I’ve been exposed to some of the most amazing, heartfelt people at SBHA who value youth voice. Because of my experience here, I feel empowered to continue my advocacy work because I know my voice and experiences matter. Thank you to everybody at the School-Based Health Alliance. I am truly honored to have worked with all of you. 

During her time as a YAC member and SBHA intern, Baila was a major contributor across numerous initiatives and focus areas, informing the design, functionality, and dissemination of products and resources, as well as supporting youth focus groups and youth participatory action research. Check out Baila’s accomplishments and contributions

Blogs Trainings Speaking Engagements 
Why SBHCs Matter to Youth ‘Be the Change’ Youth Training Program A Conversation on Racial Inequalities and the Youth Perspective 
 Opioid Prevention in Youth  How You(th) Are the Key to Tackling the Stigma on Mental Health  More Than a Model: Upstream Innovations in Adolescent SBIRT 
 Redirecting the War on Drugs: How Youth Today Play a Pivotal Role  Youth Have Thoughts Too: The Key to Effective Youth Based Discussions  Virtual Tools for Schools & SBHCs During the Pandemic: Harnessing videogame technology to shape stronger and healthier lives 
How Schools and Health Centers Can Help Tackle the STI Epidemic in Youth Cut the Cameras: Utilizing Media to Talk about Unhealthy Relationships with Young People  
 Why Mental Health Is Important Now More Than Ever