Hampshire County youth tapped to advise governor’s team

Haliyah Friedman-Kassis of Northampton is a member of Gov.  Healey’s Youth Advisory Council.

Haliyah Friedman-Kassis of Northampton is a member of Gov. Healey’s Youth Advisory Council. GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

Quinn Speek of Belchertown is a member of Gov.  Healey’s new Youth Advisory Council.

Quinn Speek of Belchertown is a member of Gov. Healey’s new Youth Advisory Council. GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

Gov. Maura Healey’s and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll recently swore in members for their new 60-member Youth Advisory Council. The council will advise the governor and her team on issues important to youth.

Gov. Maura Healey’s and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll recently swore in members for their new 60-member Youth Advisory Council. The council will advise the governor and her team on issues important to youth. GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

By XINYI YANG

BU Statehouse Program

Published: 04-29-2024 8:37 PM

Three Hampshire County students are among 60 young people statewide who will advise Gov. Maura Healey and her administrative team on issues important to young people as members of the newly minted Youth Advisory Council.

The young people, ages 16-21, were sworn in for two-year terms by Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll late last month in a ceremony on Beacon Hill. Joining the council from Hampshire County are Haliyah Friedman-Kassis and Jade Rousseau from Northampton and Quinn Speek of Belchertown. Franklin County’s representative is Christiana Dunn from Orange.

Some of the issues the governor will be looking to get input from the new council on include youth violence, housing, mental health, education and civic engagement, as well as participation in political decision-making.

Since she was 12, Speek, 17, has been drawn to the call of leadership. She has found her way through community and leadership groups in Hampshire and Franklin counties.

As a member of both Leaders of Today Council and Shout Out since October 2021, Speek is excited to make her voice heard as a member of the council.

Her interest in mental health was personal and informed, pointing to her own therapy experiences and the broader challenges faced by youth today, which are exacerbated by social media and societal pressures, the anxiety from school and more.

“I feel there needs to be more support with young people, because therapy is expensive,” which means it is hard to be a long-term solution, Speek said.

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