Youth Advisory Board
Aiming to integrate student input into its programming, Kids First established the VOIHCE Youth Advisory Board at Adams City High School in 2009. Students at the school created the VOIHCE name, which stands for: Voicing Our Imperative Health Concerns Everyday. VOIHCE has since expanded to four additional locations: Kearney, Adams City Middle School, Thornton High School, and Brighton High School.
In addition to advising and promoting Kids First Health Care clinics, VOIHCE students are advocates for health, wellness, and safety at their schools. Each of these schools now have thriving youth advisory boards that have increased Kids First’s ability to provide health care services that meet adolescents’ unique health needs and empower younger generations to become health leaders in their own communities.
How does VOIHCE work?
Kids First facilitators lead weekly VOIHCE meetings at each participating school. Each year, VOIHCE students choose the topics they want to focus on and create a calendar. Then Kids First brings in guest speakers and experts to facilitate learning sessions and conversations around these topics areas and the issues that affect youth the most. VOIHCE rolls out campaigns to the rest of their peers at the school based on what they have learned.
Over the past year, more than 60 VOIHCE members collectively dedicated more than 1,000 hours of time learning about and educating their peers on relevant health topics.
What are the benefits of joining VOIHCE?
VOIHCE participants gain valuable skills in leadership, health management, and advocacy while helping Kids First tailor its school-based health services to the needs of the students at their school. VOIHCE helps address everything from bullying and depression to drug use.
Since the program’s inception, VOIHCE students have effected significant community change, including creating a toolkit that brought healthier food options to their schools and helping pass a comprehensive tobacco policy in the Adams 14 school district.
“I joined VOIHCE because it’s a good way to help the community. I think VOIHCE helps spread positivity to my peers.” –Josie, VOIHCE participant at Adams City High School
Community Advisory Board
Through an intentional community engagement process, Kids First aims to improve the way we address patient barriers to care, including through our patient navigation systems, partnerships, and approaches to developing treatment and care plans with each of our patients. Together with our partners, we hope to build a community that has greater awareness of its needs and to harness the resources we have to collectively improve health equity for children and youth across Adams County.
To achieve this goal, Kids First currently hosts community advisory boards in Thornton, Brighton, and Commerce City. Each board is made up of community members that include teachers, parents, school administrators, and other partners. The boards help us to understand the distinct issues of the communities we work in and tailor our services and programs to better meet their needs.
Learn how you can get involved! Contact Merrill Schmidt, Community Outreach Project Manager at 303.263.1492 or firstname.lastname@example.org