Several Harker upper school students have gotten politically active by joining the San Jose Youth Advisory Council (YAC), a group of high school students that presents issues raised by local youth to the San Jose City Council and also keeps youths aware of issues that affect them as citizens. “We want to make sure that youth voices are heard as they are not only members of the community but will also be tomorrow’s adults,” said YAC member Aneesh Chona, grade 12. “Ultimately, we strive to increase awareness of the available resources that provide guidance and support to youth and encourage active civic participation.”
Other Harker members of the YAC are Zareen Choudhury, Katie Gu and Connie Li, all grade 11, and Nathan Dalal, Rishabh Jain and Sachin Peddada, all grade 10.
Chona recently started the Youth Against Abuse program, which he says is aimed at curbing domestic violence. “Empirically, studies have shown that those who commit domestic violence will only stop their harmful actions if they are aware of the consequences of those actions, something I became aware of when I was researching for past debate topics,” he said. With this in mind, the Youth Against Abuse program holds essay contests and petitions and plans to create educational videos to raise youth awareness of the effects of domestic violence.
Other activities of the YAC include tutoring children at the Starbird Community Center, publishing the literary magazine Overture and youth awareness magazine 1Voice and hosting community events.