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Granum youth named to provincial advisory panel

Seventeen-year-old Alysha Richards of Granum has been chosen to sit on the Alberta Youth Advisory Panel.

A Granum youth with a determination to become a social worker has been chosen to sit on the Alberta Youth Advisory Panel.
The 18-member panel of Alberta young people between the ages of 15 and 22 contributes youth perspectives to provincial decision makers.
Alysha Richards, 17, received confirmation of the appointment in January. She will travel to Edmonton four times over a one-year term to participate in the panel.
“I was very excited when I heard I had been chosen,” said Richards, who is in Grade 12 at Willow Creek Composite high school in Claresholm.
Richards’ interest in social work, particularly child and youth care, is a reflection of her own upbringing in a Granum foster home.
Her foster mom, Shirley Murphy, first received Alysha and her sister while living in Calgary. Murphy got a call from a social worker one day asking if she would look after two little girls for the weekend.
It turned out to be kind of a long weekend.
Richards has been with Murphy, whom she calls her mom, for nine years.
They’ve been living in Granum for the last four years, where Murphy works for the Granum Drop-in Centre.
Murphy is very pleased Richards will be participating in the panel.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Murphy said. “Alysha has talked about different (child care) issues for many years. The last couple of years she has become very serious about being a social worker.”
Richards flew to Edmonton for the first panel meeting over the weekend of Feb. 11-13.
“I was very excited for our first meeting, to get the chance to voice my opinion,” Richards said.
“I first heard about the youth panel from one of my mom’s work friends Charlene Dunlop,” Richards explained.
Richards subsequently checked out the Web site advertising the position, and ran through the list of issues the province was seeking input on: youth homelessness and addictions, the Aboriginal community, the youth justice system, rural perspectives, youth with disabilities, and child and youth protection services.
It was seeing the request for input on child and youth care that clinched her decision to fill out the online application form.
The Youth Advisory Panel was established in 2000 by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which was seeking input from young people that would help it shape programs and services.

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