First Lady Glenna Bevin recently welcomed current and new members of the First Lady’s Youth Leadership Council (FLYLC) for their fall retreat in Louisville. The FLYLC consists of 18 young people, ranging in age from 13 to 22 years old, from across the commonwealth, including from Covington, Glasgow, Owensboro, Louisville, Franklin, Barbourville, Stanford, Albany, and Hazard.

Members of the Council represent a cross-section of Kentucky youth who either have a special interest in advocating for children who have been abused or neglected, or have been personally involved in the child welfare system. All members express an interest in speaking up for the voiceless.

At the fall retreat, FLYLC members were introduced to the Kosair Charities® Face It® movement to end child abuse as an area of interest and advocacy alignment. The Council has placed an emphasis on the importance of preventing children from experiencing abuse and neglect. The First Lady was recently honored with the Fearless Advocate Committed to the End (FACE) award by Face It® for her commitment to preventing child abuse and ensuring all Kentucky kids have a safe and loving home.

Below are some reflections from these youth leaders:

Meeting the First Lady and hearing responses about previous experiences from other FLYLC members gave me a great impression of what the FLYLC is truly about. Hearing the stories of members of the FLYLC left a strong impression on me.  FLYLC isn’t just an organization or a council, it’s a family, a family that I’m extremely delighted to be a part of. This past weekend has inspired me and ignited a desire in me to change not only my community but the world for a brighter future by working diligently with my fellow FLYLC members to end child abuse.

– Sierra

The most meaningful part of the weekend was just being able to share my experience and feel like people found value in it. The greatest thing about the FLYLC is that everyone gets that opportunity, and they know that everyone who is listening is working to use that story as a catalyst to make change that will help ensure less people experience something like that.

– Cynthia

This past weekend was very powerful. It was great to be in a diverse group of people who come from very different situations, but still have the same goal, to advocate for Kentucky’s children. It was incredible to be in a space where I could be me, and receive no judgement. From this weekend I can already tell that FLYLC is an incredible opportunity, and experience that I will always remember.

– Cailin

The best part of the FLYLC’s last meeting was realizing how many young people are actually determined to fight child abuse and neglect. Also seeing how much teenagers and young people are actually concerned about our government is very good. I think we should keep spreading the message

– Keegan

I really enjoyed this last trip because it allowed me to forget all that has went on the past month in my life. I was able to actually have fun. I really enjoyed the conference thing we had on Saturday, talking about FACE-IT really interested me and I didn’t think it would. I want to be a Child Advocate Lawyer, so knowing policies and knowing places that want what is best for kids is really my favorite.

– Chelsea

The weekend event allowed me an opportunity to get to know the new members of our group. It was truly great to get to just have fun with a group of like-minded people who want to change the world. This event was a much needed break from my usual tedious schedule and I’m so thankful for it. I can’t wait for December!

– Conlan

Our Kentucky youth have powerful stories to tell.  The FLYLC is one avenue that is connecting youth who have either experienced child abuse or neglect or have a passion for being a voice for others to advocate for change to Kentucky lawmakers.