Havasu Youth Advisory Council took first place in the 2018/2019 DemocraSeed competition from left to right: City Manager Jess Knudson, Members Gavin Lintz, Aidan Bishop, Maria Fernandez, Tatum Bracamonte, Cheyenne Halfacre-Buie Alyssa Musselman, Kawai Kalauli, Ella Wofford, HYAC Advisor Jerri Bracamonte, and Mayor Cal Sheehy. HYAC/File Photo
Lake Havasu City

HYAC Won First Place in DemocraSeed Competition

Havasu Youth Advisory Council took first place in the 2018/2019 DemocraSeed competition from left to right: City Manager Jess Knudson, Members Gavin Lintz, Aidan Bishop, Maria Fernandez, Tatum Bracamonte, Cheyenne Halfacre-Buie Alyssa Musselman, Kawai Kalauli, Ella Wofford, HYAC Advisor Jerri Bracamonte, and Mayor Cal Sheehy. HYAC/File Photo

LAKE HAVASU CITY — Lake Havasu City congratulates the Havasu Youth Advisory Council (HYAC) for winning first place in the 2018/2019 DemocraSeed competition. DemocraSeed is a Civic Health Initiative of the Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) in partnership with Arizona State University’s Public Service Academy (PSA) that seeks to increase interest in civic engagement, creative problem solving and entrepreneurship among students participating in city and tribal youth councils throughout Arizona.

For the past eight months, HYAC competed against three other youth councils from the cities of Avondale, Tempe and San Luis, using Design Thinking skills learned through attending CFA and PSA workshops, to come up with a civic engagement project to better their communities.

Mayor Cal Sheehy and City Manager Jess Knudson attended the final showcase and witnessed the hard work the youth council put in to make their vision a reality.

“HYAC worked hard to bring attention to mental health issues in our community. I am proud of their vision, determination and hard work. HYAC continues to make us proud,” said Mayor Cal Sheehy.

With the community’s support, HYAC’s winning project focused on advocating for mental health awareness in Lake Havasu City. After losing a school classmate and friend to a tragedy in September of last year, they felt the need to help prevent future occurrences.  HYAC partnered with service organizations including the Havasu Community Health Foundation and the #YOUmatter group to bring awareness to mental health and suicide prevention in our area by hosting and coordinating a community engagement workshop.

“There is still much stigma about suicide that makes people feel like they do not have a better alternative,” said Cheyenne Halfacre-Buie, a HYAC member and Lake Havasu High School junior. “We learned through partnering with the #YOUmatter group that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and the more we spread awareness and talk about support, the more likely we can save lives.”

Tatum Bracamonte is a Lake Havasu High School senior who has plans to attend Northern Arizona University to get her teaching degree, and wishes to teach eleventh grade English at Lake Havasu High School when she returns.

“As a member of Havasu Youth Advisory Council for the past four years, I have really enjoyed the opportunities that were given to me to work local and state leaders to affect change. I learned that our community is a giving community, and one that I would like to return to following college graduation,” said Tatum.

HYAC consists of nine youth council members that serve at the pleasure of the Mayor and City Council, providing a voice for the youth in the community on city matters. HYAC is involved in other various community service projects over the years including National Public Lands Days, HSO Teen Break, Community Dinners and Vision 20/20.

They also attend the Youth Program at the League of Arizona Cities and Towns Annual Conference in August. Most notably, they won 1st place in the 2016/2017 DemocraSeed competition for their project “Project: WeOutCare” website creation www.projectweoutcare.com, where the community can purchase school supplies for local teachers with just a click of a button.For more information, or to find out how to support HYAC, contact the mayor’s office at 928-453-4152.