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The Colorado Youth Advisory Council (COYAC) gives young people a voice in the policymaking process and provides an opportunity for students to make recommendations to the Colorado State Legislature. The program enhances and encourages civic engagement and education among young people. The council is made up of 40 students from across the state who have an interest in learning more about public policy, state government and are passionate about making a difference in their community and their state.
Since the 2008 legislation that launched COYAC, (Youth Advisory Act in House Bill 08-1157) the mission of the council has been to examine, evaluate and discuss the issues, interests and needs affecting Colorado youth now and in the future and to formally advise and make recommendations to elected officials regarding those issues.
Throughout their two year commitment as a council member, they explore topics that are interesting and relevant which can include education, employment and economic opportunity, access to state and local government services, the environment, behavioral and physical health, safe environments for youth, substance abuse, driver’s license requirements, poverty and increased youth participation in state and local government.
In addition to the 40 youth council members, there are four members of the Colorado General Assembly that serve as members of COYAC. These include two state senators and two state representatives that will serve as mentors and teachers throughout the member’s time on the council.