Annalise Pflueger, a senior at Lakewood high school, is the Secretary of the National Honors Society. Like many other kids at her school she’s involved with all kinds of extra-curricular activities such as the theatre program and choir. She loves public speaking, is passionate about cooking, and is also one of the youth leaders in the Jefferson County School District’s Student Health Advisory Council, (SHAC).
“Growing up in Colorado, I’ve noticed that kids my age are really focused on their health,“ Annalise said, “especially when it comes to eating healthy and having an active lifestyle.” She believes that youth engagement encourages teens to be advocates about youth health objectives that they find important.
Annalise heard about SHAC through a mutual friend who was on the council. Because of her interests in politics, public policy, and advocacy, Annalise joined SHAC in 2015. Immediately she loved being part of a team where youth engagement is valued and youth voices are heard.
In her first year on the council, SHAC worked on the School Without Hate initiative. The School Without Hate is a district wide initiative designed to improve the culture and climate of schools in Jeffco and to promote safer and more accepting environments in schools across the state. SHAC created resources and activities designed to help students connect and foster a safe and positive school climate. She hopes that the School Without Hate initiative will continue to grow and evolve in Jeffco for years to come.
When asked what sets SHAC apart from other youth councils, Annalise replied,“a lot of other councils operate on a different level, they just ask youth for feedback and brainstorm ideas. SHAC is different because we are youth champions who support student voice and are influential in making changes, including policy changes, in the district. The youth have free range to make decisions and make a difference. We are not being told what to do instead we are leading and chasing after health objectives that are most important to us.”
As a youth leader in SHAC, Annalise encourages youth to get involved in programs that promote youth engagement. She feels that there is such great potential for students to make an impact in school districts and communities. “SHAC has been a positive and incredible experience, it’s not just a council it’s more of a supportive community where all youth get along since they share the same purpose and passion.”
The Jefferson County School District’s Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC) is a group of high school students from across the district that represents student voices on issues of health. SHAC’s mission is to create health resources and programs for the 80,000 students in their school district. The council is a partnership established between the Jefferson County School District and Kaiser Permanente. See more on Facebook.