Youth Empowerment

CVSD Students Have a Voice

Connecting Youth creates opportunities for CVSD students to engage in social advocacy issues and make real change. 

From GSAs (Gender Sexual Alliances) to tobacco prevention groups like VKAT (Vermont Kids Against Tobacco) and OVX (Our Voices Exposed), CY encourages students to take ownership of situations affecting their lives and their communities. 

2024 Vermont Youth Leadership Summit 

Over 40 middle school students from Williston Central School and Hinesburg Community School attended the annual 802 Youth Leadership Summit to tackle a critical issue: exposing the harms of commercial tobacco and fighting back against Big Tobacco.   

The summit brought together kids from across the state including a mix of students from Williston’s CY Lead (Connecting Youth Leadership Education and Anti-Drug) and Hinesburg’s VKAT (Vermont Kids Against Tobacco).

These young leaders didn't just listen – they spoke up! They had rich conversations with their peers, brainstormed creative prevention campaigns, crafted impactful messages, and walked away with the confidence to bring their anti-tobacco activism back to their schools and communities. We're so proud of our students for taking the initiative to fight for a healthier future. Their dedication and passion is truly inspiring!

2024 National Take Back Tobacco Day

Each April is National Take Down Tobacco Day. The day empowers youth to stand up and speak out against Big Tobacco. Students from WCS' Connecting Youth Leadership Education and Anti-Drug and HCS' VKAT groups rallied with their peers to advocate against Big Tobacco targeting kids with flavored products like e-cigarettes and menthols, educating their peers about the risks of tobacco use, including electronic vaping products. 

2023 Pride Rally 

June is Pride Month. And for three years, CVSD has come together to show their love, support and solidarity for our LGBTQ+ community. Over 250 community members celebrated at the 3rd annual Pride Rally held at Hinesburg Community School. There was personal flag-making, a photobooth, jewelry design and a march to the Hinesburg Town Center with many passerbys honking in support.  

Rep. Saudia LaMont (above) and Drag Entertainer Emoji Nightmare (right) shared powerful messages of hope, love, acceptance and advocacy. Student speakers from each of the district schools spoke to the crowd with gratitude for school-based Gender/Sexuality Alliance Groups (GSAs). The depth of their stories and experiences were impactful. It's events like these give that give our youth purpose while feeling empowered, seen, and supported. 

 2023 CVSD CY Vaping Prevention Campaign 

Connecting Youth is acutely aware of the growing use of EVPs (electronic vapor products) among youth. In 2023, CVSD and Connecting Youth, in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health, launched our first district-wide effort to educate and prevent vaping use. 

The gravity of the issue required us to think critically about our approach to enacting change and prevention. With a holistic approach including programs, policies, practices and people, we are shifting the cultural narrative around EVP misuse from punitive to restorative and inspiring change in youth beliefs and behaviors.