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How do you write a check, balance a checkbook, ask a girl out, be a gentleman, act on a date, get involved with the community, end domestic violence, contribute to "green," get along with mom and dad, avoid substance abuse, eating disorders, gangs, discrimination and the list goes on and on regarding the concerns and issues of Mendocino County teens at a recent BE THE CHANGE conference.

YGen . . .Be the Change 100% of the 200 plus High School students participating wanted to be better prepared for the "real world." From this conference and several MendoFuture's Operational meetings arose the YGen team of MendoFutures. MendoFutures is honored to welcome Be the Change as the YGen partner and member.

The goal is to recruit teens to become more active in creating our community's future and provide mentoring and coaching on "real world" teen concerns. We want to build an environment where we can mentor, coach and most of all listen. The goal is to integrate MendoFuture's guiding principles into our teen's core values and facilitate ways for them to initiate their contribution as productive citizen of Mendocino County.

MendoFutures Operations team approved integrating YGen, Be the Change, into their organization to facilitate their growth and public awareness throughout the county. "It will be great to provide them with a voice so as many as possible can hear what the students have to say, what they are feeling and what its like being a Mendocino County teenager." Kristin Frith is leading this group supported by Grace Magruder, Ben Provan, Cliff Paulin, and Rick Le Burkien. For more information: Contact Kristin Frith at

YGen . . .Be the Change

Kristin Lamala The YGen group had their first "Be the Change" Action Camp on March 21, 2009 at the Willits Grange Hall. It was generously sponsored by Mendocino Workforce Investment Board's Youth Council and Chaired by Kristin Lamala.

The camp lasted from 8:30 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. and included group introductions, team building activities, leadership styles, networking, topic presentations, discussions of community issues and a "commitment to be the change" session. One of the most inspiring and touching sessions was "If You Really Knew Me."

YGen . . .Be the Change YGen . . .Be the Change YGen . . .Be the Change

The NextGen group is responsible for developing a role for teens to participate in MendoFuture's mission. As you can see by the poster photos, these young people already have a common thread between their core values and MendoFuture's Guiding Principles.

YGen . . .Be the Change YGen . . .Be the Change

Cliff Paulin, Estelle Clifton and Rick Le Burkien represented MendoFutures as adult advisors. Each was extremely honored to be involved and was touched by the emotional maturity of this group and their understanding and awareness of Mendocino County issues.

It is MendoFuture's hope that we can help maintain the momentum and even expand upon YGen's goals and aspirations. Both Ben Provan and Grace Magruder have recommended expanding upon the camp concept to include, but not be limited to, real world issues and solutions, e.g. financial management, relationship building, interpersonal communications and problem solving.

YGen . . .Be the Change YGen . . .Be the Change YGen . . .Be the Change

One of the next steps YGen is attempting to achieve is producing a video on what it's like being a Mendocino County teenager.

It is with great honor that we welcome Kristin and her group to our organization. If you'd like to gain more information and/or get involved please contact MendoFuture's Coordinator, Susan Strom at

See also, ECHO BOOMERS - YGen.

Every High School and Charter School in Mendocino County was represented.

Be the change is . . .

  1. Where every student, teacher and administrator takes full responsibility for being the change they want to be.

  2. Where daily service and contribution are an important part of each student's graduation requirement.

  3. A healthy learning community. Everyone in the community can enjoy the mutual respect, open communication, acceptance, compassion and commitment that are essential for growing, loving and learning.

  4. Where teachers, administrators, organizations, businesses, students and parents are all looking to "catch" one another doing great things.

  5. Where regular recognition ceremonies and awards are given to students, teachers, administrators, organizations, businesses and parents who are making significant contributions to their community.

  6. Where Community Scholarships are awarded to seniors whose teachers and peers believe they have made the most consistent contributiions.

  7. Where parents and concerned businesses and community members are actively involved in supporting this program and their local schools' efforts as part of their community's Circle of Change.

  8. Where teachers, parents and the community understand that students learn better and retain more when they feel safe, loved and celebrated in their communities and classrooms.

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