May is Youth Appreciation Month in Vermont, a time to come together to celebrate young people for all they contribute to our communities.
This statewide celebration originated in Bennington. In 2013, a group of Career Development Center (now Southwest Tech) students drafted a resolution which was adopted by the Vermont House of Representatives declaring April 27th “Youth Appreciation Day.” In 2016, then-Governor Shumlin signed a new proclamation designating May “Youth Appreciation Month.” ACT Bennington members and local youth guided this effort and were present at the signing.
Youth Appreciation Day was a call to action in response to Youth Risk Behavior Survey data that reflected the low rates of Vermont youth who feel they matter to our communities. Currently, only about half of Bennington-area youth feel they matter and this number is significantly lower for LGBTQ+ youth and youth of color in Bennington.
There is much to celebrate about our young people! They contribute countless volunteer hours for the betterment of our local and state communities; provide needed services to community members and income for families through their employment in the Southwestern Vermont region; and share enjoyment and entertainment through their participation in sports, music, theater and the arts. These skills, gifts, and perspectives contribute to the development and culture of Bennington today.
Remember, when young people feel connected to and valued by people at school, home, and in the community, they get the support they need to thrive. For information about how organizations, businesses, families, and youth can participate in this year’s Youth Appreciation Month, visit: https://actbennington.org/yam