MyVoice is a text messaging platform that reaches youth across America. We’re also a close-knit group of real people who are energized and committed to amplifying youth voice through technology, scholarship, and advocacy. Among our members is Katherine Jones, a former student athlete, woodworker, and public policy wonk, who is now a graduate student in integrative design at the University of Michigan. Katherine helps the MyVoice think through complex issues like, how do we get people in power to actually listen to and respond to youth concerns, on everything from the opioid epidemic to school start times to juvenile justice reform and insurance coverage for mental health care.
In typical MyVoice fashion, we wanted to ask Katherine some questions. Here’s what she had to say:MyVoice: What aspects of MyVoice are you tackling right now?
KJ: I’m developing a strategic framework to support the MyVoice team to identify key points within the policymaking process to determine when, how, and to whom key youth insights can be delivered to be most impactful in informing policy creation.
MyVoice is positioned to collect, characterize, and amplify the real life experience of youth, which is valuable knowledge and expertise that policymakers are looking for, to inform their decision-making.
My work on MyVoice involves design research, strategy, and information design. We are collaborating with health administrators and elected officials within Washtenaw County to develop a framework which can be scaled in various government contexts.
Do you remember being “a youth”? What experiences shaped you when you were MyVoicers’ age?
I played three sports including volleyball, basketball, and softball. As a child of a single mother, sports gave me a community of young women and fellowship of parents who helped me navigate adolescence.
I also hung out in the wood shop in high school which is where I developed my love for thinking without boundaries. I made a bookshelf with angled shelves because why not?!
In both wood shop and sports I found mentors and positive relationships with adults which I have carried with me into today.
I believe more than anything being heard and validated is pivotal to the human experience which is why youth voices must be championed. The more we validate youth experiences today, the more likely they are to continue sharing their voice into adulthood.
Your most frequently used emoji or GIF?