PeaceHealth Leads by Example to Empower Youth Voice

June 15, 2021

15th Night has learned over the years that there is a stark difference between bringing youth in to the conversation, and actually listening to and empowering their voices. We are always trying to do the latter, and in doing so we have been able to help form a group of young leaders who feel confident in sharing their experiences and expertise to help create positive changes in their community.

When Vice President of Operations for PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center, Alicia Beymer, came to 15th Night with hopes of identifying ways to enhance Emergency Room services for youth; we started where we always do, with the Youth Action Council (YAC). Members from the PeaceHealth team attended our YAC meetings and listened as the youth shared about their experiences at the hospital, both good and bad. From there, PeaceHealth and the YAC worked together to create a survey for youth that would help build on the input from their initial conversations with the YAC.

The survey produced great feedback for PeaceHealth about how they can improve their services to better meet the needs of youth. The overwhelming theme of the feedback from the survey was that youth want to be listened to and believed. While this is vital feedback to share with the hospitals and medical staff, it also feels like important feedback for us all to keep in mind as we work to help support the young people in our lives.

What’s been so amazing about the collaboration between PeaceHealth and the YAC is that they came to the youth with genuine questions, and they actually listened to what they had to say. It sounds simple, but so often we think we already know the answers, or the answers lead to more questions and more barriers to address. PeaceHealth didn’t see barriers, they saw opportunities. This is how change happens.