The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

Youth Action Team: Building the Next Generation of Student Leaders

The Youth Action Team (YAT) club is striving to push the boundaries of what it means to be a high school volunteering club
Mahati Iyer
Woodbridge High YAT leaders junior Ava Saucedo and senior Shrinidhi Sriram set up signs around the Lakeview Senior Center to prepare for Teen Summit.

Volunteering is an important aspect of being in a community and it gives a sense of fulfillment when giving back to the organizations and people who work to ensure the best for the city.

In addition to self-growth, volunteering is also emphasized on many college and job applications, and students spend precious hours outside of school to devote time and energy to it.

Including volunteering projects, YAT demonstrates itself as an exemplary opportunity for organizing community service projects and civic engagement for high school students in Irvine.

Senior Shrinidhi Sriram and junior Ava Saucedo are students who work for the City of Irvine as team representatives for the club.
“We have city-wide events and city volunteer projects that incorporate all of the schools [and] all of the districts,” Saucedo said. “That’s unique to Irvine and this club in general because it has a connection to the city.”

The club includes branches in other high schools in the Tustin and Irvine Unified School Districts, including Beckman, Northwood and Portola High, as well as sister clubs for middle school students.

Because of their special connection to the city, YAT presents students with volunteer projects that are in direct collaboration with Irvine and Orange County groups and facilities.

One of the most popular events is the Great Park Visitor Center Assistance, where students work with the staff at the Orange County Great Park to greet visitors. At this volunteering event, students assist visitors with ride and attraction waivers, tickets and general park information.

YAT presents a volunteering project in conjunction with the Orange County Discovery Cube, where volunteers assist with educational booths for the Bubblefest festival. The duties include crowd control, guest service and craft activities.

Saucedo and Sriram work with members from other schools to organize folders for Teen Summit. (Mahati Iyer)

Other events include mending books to donate to low-income families and tending to the community succulent garden at the Heritage Park community center.

Besides community service opportunities, the club also hosts a variety of workshops like Teen Summit, their biggest event of the year. Teen Summit consists of a series of key speakers on a variety of topics including self-defense, time management and public speaking.

“[Students] get volunteer hours for just being a teenager and experiencing life and getting support,” Sriram said.

YAT’s volunteering events promote personal growth not only through community service, but with enriching opportunities from real-life experiences.

“[YAT’s events are] not just simple tasks that you feel are meaningless, they really give back to the community…it’s something really unique and if you want to get involved and you know you want to make a difference I feel like YAT is always the way to go,” Saucedo said.

For those who are more ambitious and looking to develop leadership skills, the club itself presents various leadership opportunities that high school students of all grade levels can look forward to.

“All we focus on [as team representatives] is to nourish and support and bring opportunities to our high schoolers,” Sriram said. “We are that bridge between the adults and the kids because we can talk about the point of view of [high schoolers] because we are living through it.”

Juniors and seniors can apply as team representatives who represent the teen population of Irvine. Every branch has two to three positions, and their job is to listen to the feedback of teens and utilize them to plan events to bring the community together.

“[At] every level of YAT you have someone that you can count on and rely on and talk to, and if you feel like you’re looking for a place to belong at Woodbridge High School, join YAT…just like having this job, I’ve gotten so many opportunities that I’ve never would’ve gotten,” Saucedo said.

The club has grown to over 1000 total Irvine members, and youth outreach leader Fidel Huertero commends the work of the staff and leaders that make the club possible. As for the future, YAT seeks to expand and provide to as many students as they can.

“Whether that’s creating new on-campus events, finding new volunteer opportunities, getting in contact with more career speakers or creating a new high school YAT event, everyone here at the high school YAT is open to hearing ideas from all high-school students in Irvine,” Huertero said.

YAT is constantly seeking out new event ideas to engage the students and the community and hopes that the club will become a source of fulfillment outside of just offering community service hours.

When we plan an event and we see that effect on the smiles on the people’s faces or how happy they feel when gaining that experience, it’s so immediate and gratifying,” Sriram said.

YAT provides the resources and connections to be a leader and find your unique meaning in volunteering.

“We are super close with our class [representatives] and we’re super close with our volunteers,” Sriram said. “[With YAT], you get to see so many perspectives [and] you can have connections that transcend our campus.”

For any interested students, the club hosts on-campus meetings once every two weeks on Thursday in classroom J114, where the staff presents first-come, first-serve projects that participants can register exclusively.

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About the Contributors
Madelyne Lee
Madelyne Lee, Content Editor
Hi guys! I'm looking forward to being a part of the Golden Arrow team for the first time! I hope to spend the next two years with the editor team and working with the other amazing staff. I believe knowledge should be accessible to everybody, so my goal is to share some of my content ideas and make the stories more fun and engaging for the students at WHS. Thank you for taking the time to read our stories and supporting Golden Arrow!
Mahati Iyer
Mahati Iyer, Writer/Photographer
My name is Mahati Iyer and this is my first year on the Golden Arrow as a writer and photographer! I look forward to collaborating and creating with the other journalists and interacting with the lovely students of Woodbridge this year. Outside of school, I enjoy playing volleyball, baking, and sleeping.