YMCA OF GREATER OKLAHOMA CITY

MAKING OKLAHOMA
STRONGER

DEDICATED TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Meet Bella, Alex & Libby

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Bella, Alex and Libby share the same beautiful smile, but these sisters couldn’t be more different.  Although their personalities are distinctive and unique, each of them found their voice in the Y’s Youth and Government Program.

Youth and Government is a national program that involves thousands of teens nationwide in state-organized, model-government activities. Students from every corner of the U.S. have the opportunity to immerse themselves in experiential civic engagement and practice democracy in its pure form. Hundreds of Oklahoma teens meet throughout the year to discuss and debate issues that affect citizens of our state and to propose legislation.

Libby, the oldest sister, became involved in Youth and Government when she was a freshman in high school.  Now a sophomore at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., she says that the experience completelychanged the course of her life- for the better. “Youth and Government has given me the opportunity to do somany great things, including acting as an intern in the government relations and policy office at the YMCA of theUSA. That experience allowed me to see the Y from an entirely different side,” said Libby. “I learned that the Y isso much more than a gym and swim. The Y is there with support when a community goes through a hard time,and is often one of the first support systems when there is a disaster. It is often times not something we see, but something we should appreciate more often. The Y touches the lives of everyone who encounters it.”

Through her experience with Youth and Government, Libby created a network of friends, many of whom were older and had moved into the workforce. Through those connections, she is now working with students from MITand Harvard to refine and aggregate big sets of data to help lobbyists and advocacy groups like the Y better understand how Congress works together.

“Libby came back from a weekend at the capitol so much more confident,” said Alex, the middle sister. “She had all of these new ideas and new concepts that were just over my head, and seeing that change in her convinced me to join the program. Throughout my high school experience, I learned my own strengths and I know that the impact I leave on the program will be different than Libby. During my senior year, I took the position of House Chaplain, which allowed me to spend my senior year in the House and share my faith, which was very important to me. It was awesome.”

Bella, the youngest sister said that Youth and Government really helped build her confidence. “I was really excited to join so that I could get involved doing all of the things my sisters had done,” said Bella. “The experience allows me to debate about important topics that we sometimes don’t get to voice our opinions about in the classroom.”
 
Being socially responsible means more to these young ladies than it did prior to their involvement in Youth and Government. All three of them will tell you that their participation has taught them the importance of staying involved in their community and to always care what is happening at their local, state and federal levels. And their relationships have strengthened over the years as well. “I’ve seen my sisters grow intellectually as leaders,” said Libby. “We share a unique bond - a strong bond that brings us together. We are, and will always be, there for each other.“
 
Their mother, Christi beams when she talks about her girls, saying, “They now feel comfortable to express their opinions in a manner that is respectful and that helps them in school and in their daily lives. They have learned how to be a part of their community and good civic leaders even at their young age. It makes me happy knowing that they will continue to be active citizens.”