my name is Devon Hansen and I'm the vice president of RAD Youth Council hi I'm Chantal Payne and I'm the secretary of RAD Youth Council we are rad rad does it just mean our awesome rad stands for respect accept and defend respect yourself and others around you accept everyone for who they are and what they love defend the rights of every living thing and we got the term rad from the word radical which dictionary.com defines as a person who advocates fundamental political economic and social reforms by direct and often uncompromising methods and that's what we do we didn't like what we were seeing in our schools and in our lives so we started rad to become advocates for social reform when we researched issues affecting youth we found that 38 percent of boys in secondary school reported using protein supplements and about 6% of high school students admitted to experimenting with steroids 69 percent of girls over the age of 10 reported that magazines influenced their idea of a perfect body 30 percent of young people admit to bullying themselves over seventy seven percent of students have been bullied 42 percent of LGBT youth feel they are not supported in their own community over forty percent or nearly forty percent of homeless teens identify as LGBTQ plus there are approximately 1.7 million homeless youth in the u.s. 60 percent of Utah youth who aged out of the foster care system end up homeless incarcerated or dead 63 percent of youth who have died by suicide have gone through the juvenile justice system 80 percent of teens who have attempted suicide have given clear warning signs we are the radicals that are going to change this and we will not give up so we're here today to tell you about how rad kids really are what adults can do to be supportive and what kids can do right now to start creating major change looking at us I'm sure some of some of you are wondering what a bunch of kids could possibly know about the difficult subjects we deal with on a daily basis and that's okay you wouldn't be the first one er and I'm sure you won't be the last each of us has had personal experiences with the different causes we deal with my mom had a young so therefore I'm very close with my uncles and my grandparents and in school I've always done well academically but I didn't fit in when I was little because I looked more mature for my age then in a span from fourth to seventh grade I went through a lot of life-changing situations I moved out of state my grandpa died my mom got married my little sister was born I had to move back to Utah because of abuse situation abusive situation then in the middle of seventh grade I got diagnosed with depression now we rebuilt our life I live with my mom my little sister I deal with my depression in a positive way while I focus on my music photography and surrounding myself with positive people and that is what's brought me here today I grew up in a split household I went between my mom and my dad's house pretty often and we were moving a lot which made it hard to feel like I had a home and then in 6th and 7th grade I lost friends to suicide and I turned to self-harm to deal with my depression but now but now I work with rad Youth Council and I've made a lot of new friends I've connected with other teens and realized that there are better ways to deal with depression other than self-harm with all these struggles last year we decided to owner voices in March we held a 3d event called excuse me while I changed the world we love the name so much yeah it's awesome right we love the name so much that we renamed our parent organization making excuse me while I change the world the official name day one consisted of a fashion show for all types shapes and ages of people it was called every body's different and he wanted to raise awareness for bullying prevention and encourage others to be comfortable with themselves it was awesome to watch kids as young as to strut their stuff down the runway with huge smiles on their faces seeing everyone so confident and comfortable in their skin was amazing and on the second day we were focusing on suicide prevention and mental health stigma in an art show called art needs no labels we displayed an auction art from people of all ages and art styles and encouraged even novice artists to share their work teens Tanner Kirk and Carly only spoke about their experiences with suicide the stigma surrounding mental health and how spreading hope can help save lives we saw new artists watch as people admired their artwork many of them were surprised to find that people were is impressed with their artwork as the word by the work of artists who had been selling art for years in fact the largest bidding war was for an awesome piece that was submitted last minute by a teen who was sure no one would want it xxx the three-day event ended with a concert called will sing for food that brought awareness to homelessness and hunger you through backstage helping bands set up moving equipment and several of us also spoke on stage about our mission the bands were fund and supported to work with they taught our council members a lot about live music and how to manage a stage setup throughout this adventure we've had amazing support and made great connections political bands artists organizations adults and youth it was the push we needed to go further with rad it gave us the confidence to keep going to change the world with this newfound confidence in ourselves and our abilities we went on to do more events and activities in May of this year we held another fashion show for youth it helped raise the self-esteem of our council members and told the community that beauty isn't defined by size or shape for me because everyone is so different personality wise and body wise it was amazing to see them all so confident and just strutting their stuff down the runway like nobody's business I saw my friends being more happy and confident with their bodies it was the coolest part of the show we have also started up we've also started setting up booths at different community events it's given us an opportunity to speak to kids and adults about what we're doing and all the ways they can get involved people try to discourage us quite often we hear all the time how cute so they're interesting it is what we're doing you think this is cute changing world is hard there's nothing cute about it you think it's silly people are starving taking their own lives and they're not feeling supported in their own homes please tell me that what I'm doing is silly we all know when someone's bored with us with us and they say yeah or cool or that's interesting they're right though it's not interesting it's fascinating you can't tell me that seeing kids take a stand to change the negative is not rad we've also heard you can't take on that many causes it didn't start this way in the beginning we were an organisation that focused on putting an end to bullying we worked with City Councilman Charlie Luke on the Salt Lake City bullying prevention program as we to create the program for Salt Lake and met other organizations we realized that bullying and suicide go hand in hand finally we began to see that if we truly wanted to stop bullying and suicide we had to go to the root of the problem we started by empowering youth by working with organizations that's supported different causes enabling us to work on multiple issues without doing it all alone the most frustrating thing we hear is you're too young to be doing this we might be young but we run our council just like a functioning legal nonprofit organization we meet weekly to discuss new ideas and projects and we vote on all major decisions we spend a lot of time together because no one under 18 is legally allowed to vote on a non-profit board all the youth are represented by adults the grown-ups vote on our behalf to ensure that all of our votes get counted once you turn 21 you graduate from rad Council and move in to excuse me while I change the world we are a team to make sure that each council member has an important role that adults in other organizations know it's youth to reach out to and that all of our causes give equal attention each of our council members will select different focus that is important to them to focus on for example my folks is our LGBTQ plus quality suicide prevention and self-harm awareness I focus on positive self-image women's rights and ending homelessness many of our council members have gone through personal struggles so they've selected focuses that are important to them so that they can help other people so they don't have to deal with the pain and the stress that they've dealt with as you can see some of our focuses overlap this ensures that none of us work alone we also have the option to work one-on-one with specific organizations I work with I have a name project which is an organization that brings awareness to life on the streets I get to meet with the homeless and hear their stories they can tell me whatever they want and I'm here to listen some of them even let me take their picture for the photo exhibit that we'll be doing we want to change the way people see or more importantly do not see the less fortunate I have connected with the Utah Department of Juvenile Justice because they believe in providing incredible support to the at-risk youth they allow me to work with the staff and adults to support and empower the teens I do this through weekly programming that focuses on suicide prevention kindness making positive decisions mmm Suicide Prevention I'm the only youth is currently authorized to work with the kids in observation and assessment these one-on-one connections that there are with other organizations help us improve communications between youth and adults basically we're translators for the vast gap between youth language and adult language we're not just kids we are not accessories we are advocates working to better our world an effort to reach as many kids as possible we have spent the last couple of years putting our program in Utah schools we do fun assemblies we talk about bullying and suicide prevention as well as teach a small group of kids how to be ambassadors to spread the rad message funding is raised by shoe drives so parents and schools don't have to pay for programming although we're from Salt Lake City we're working with other organizations to help expand our program to other states we already have schools set up for presentations this year in Salt Lake City and soon students around the nation will have access to the rad Ambassador Program rad ambassadors will have access to the rad Leadership Council which will give them access to support materials resources and ideas our goal is to make students feel strong and empowered we want everyone to respect accept and defend each other to make bullying non-existent youth in other cities and states can also create radicals in their own areas all they have to do is go to rad Youth Council org they will have access to our Leadership Council our program and details on how to set up events speaking events we're doing some awesome ones right now has anyone heard of Johnny Depp yeah okay well you got a no Tim Burton is then this October will be hosting a Tim Burton themed Halloween party this will get yeah I know it's gonna be awesome this will give kids a fun safe environment with for meeting new people all while being decked out in fantastic costumes everyone likes to get dolled up from time to time it's confidence-booster kids have parties and school dances but it's not the same as when an adult gets to go to a benefit or a cocktail party so we'll be throwing an event called youth night out it'll be a formal art exhibit and a fundraiser sparkling cider and champagne glasses raffle and auction and really nice fancy food whoo who wouldn't want to be a part of that to be classy and sophisticated with the youthful twist making making a difference and giving every kid a voice will start this revolution it's time to step up and let our kids be more involved we need to start taking them more seriously and give them the opportunity to share their voice with the method that rad Council and excuse me believe in your family school and community will become more connected people will start to see change our lifestyle can become more positive if everyone comes together and accepts people from who they are we need to stop defining others by age religion race gender and sexuality we need to become more connected we are done being silent kids are more powerful than you realize we can do more than you think we can we aren't stupid or immature we're tired of not being listened to and being told that we were less than adults just because we have less years on our belts kids are ready to speak out and we hope you're ready to listen if you don't listen to kids you're missing out on all the awesome ideas they have kids are listening to each other and we're here to help you listen to them start being activists for youth by empowering the kids around you you will see so many new inventions concepts and changes all for the better of our world you need to get to know your kids listen to them don't take it too personally facilitate their hobbies and passions support them in whatever they do you'd be surprised what your kids know so please take a step back and begin to realize that adults don't have all the answers kids have room for new ideas and growth and we're open to possibilities youth don't have boundaries and that's what makes us believe we can change the world that one part of our brains that everybody says isn't developed enough for us to understand consequences is exactly what makes us unafraid our voices are so loud and obnoxious that you can't help but hear us break style we are also reckless and willing to take risks adults or not I'm not afraid to jump off a roof onto a trampoline I'm not afraid to be seen playing tag with my sister or my friends I have no problem being honest I have no problem praising people I don't need gender boundaries to define who I am I am more than willing to fight for my right as a woman I'm strong enough to fight for solutions to global issues I am brave enough to stand in front of you and tell you what is wrong with our world are you