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Students provide feedback on educational programs through Devereux’s National Youth Advisory Council


Students who sit on Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s National Youth Advisory Council (DYAC) are making their voices heard and providing feedback about the educational services they receive through the organization.

More than 20 students, ages 14 to 21, at Devereux Arizona, New York and Massachusetts/Rhode Island meet virtually twice per month (once at the center level and once at the national level) to offer their opinions and discuss a wide range of topics, including safety awareness and abuse prevention; programmatic successes, challenges and quality improvement; center activities; and more.

“As part of our unwavering commitment to the Devereux Family Standard of Care, it is critical we understand the personal experiences of those we are privileged to serve,” said Devereux National Director of Family Engagement Amy Kelly, MBA, MNM. “One way we are working to ensure our programs and services meet the unique needs of our individuals is through DYAC. Students who participate on DYAC have the opportunity to collaborate with their peers and share ideas on enhancements. At one recent meeting, a student told Devereux staff, ‘I think this is so cool you are doing this!”

Benefits for students

Kelly notes that serving on DYAC offers numerous benefits to participating youth, including learning to:

  • Develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Build communication, leadership and organizational skills
  • Collaborate with students and staff
  • Form healthy relationships
  • Take responsibility for their actions and words
  • Serve as positive role models

Making a positive impact

In addition to benefits for students, Kelly says DYAC, which receives financial support from Devereux’s Ronald P. Burd 21st Century Fund for Excellence and Innovation, positively impacts the overall organization.

“By listening about those issues most important to our youth, we are gaining a unique perspective related to how we celebrate successes, address challenges and opportunities; and promote connections with youth in meaningful ways,” Kelly shared. “The students who sit on DYAC are excited to participate, engaged in the process, having fun – and making a difference. We are grateful to the Ronald P. Burd Fund for championing our efforts, and in the near future, we hope to expand DYAC to include individuals enrolled in our children’s residential and adult residential programs.”

Learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.


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