Soua Thao, a freshman at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, is the second of two returning members on the 2014-2016 #YAC cohort and a champion of service, service-learning, education equity, youth leadership, and community-building. “I am interested in serving another term on the YAC because I love working with youth and adults in my community. My career path is going in the same direction and I think that serving another term will help me in the long run, as I get closer to finding jobs in my career field. I am passionate about youth making these differences,” said Thao.
Soua is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Youth Studies, with a minor in Leadership, which perfectly reflects her history and projects her future. Soua served as a Group Assistant at Camp EMID (East Metro Integration District in St. Paul, Minn.) Youth Institute, where she facilitated workshops and activities for nearly 60 students throughout the duration of the event. For the past two years at the National Service-Learning Conference® Soua has represented NYLC in workshops, on the plenary stage, and on Capitol Hill in D.C., advocating for service-learning and the power of youth voice. “I love facilitating workshops and seeing how much people are excited or interested in the topics that we focus on,” said Soua. With Students Today Leaders Forever, a student-driven group whose mission is to reveal leadership abilities through service, relationships, and action, Soua planned service projects, mentored nearly 40 high school students throughout multiple-day service trips, and facilitated discussions and reflections around the entire experience.
Soua’s accolades include a 2014 Red Wagon Award from the Minnesota Alliance with Youth and the 2014 Violet Richardson Award from Soroptimist International – Twin Cities. “I really have a passion for youth leadership development and just doing the little things and seeing how the perspectives of both youth and adults change after such experiences really give me hope,” said Soua.
Learn more about the Youth Advisory Council.