The goal of the Council is to ensure program participants’ voices are heard, concerns are addressed, and ideas are brought to life.


We have been working behind the scenes over the past year to establish a Girl Be Heard Youth Advisory Council (YAC). Co-Chaired by Iqra Shafiq and Jael Charles, the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is participant-led body comprised of Girl Be Heard alumni who have completed at least one year of programming (locally or globally). The YAC aims to increase the level of transparency across our organization, center the voices of participants, and ensure those voices are heard at the policy table and to develop, amplify and celebrate emerging leaders who want to influence decision-making at Girl Be Heard. The Youth Advisory Council will act as a gateway to sharing power in decision-making with participants and to addressing challenges in real time. It is important to hear feedback directly from those most impacted by our work and allow participants an opportunity to share their valued opinion. With the use of their voices, we can implement best-practices that are backed and supported by our participants.

Iqra and Jael will both co-chair the YAC and and serve as lead advocates to ensure requests, concerns, hopes and dreams of GBH participants are heard and addressed by staff and other key stakeholders at Girl Be Heard. Collectively, they will use the YAC as a vehicle to maintain a sense of the needs of participants across our programs. An underlying goal of the Youth Advisory Council is to support participants as they develop self-advocacy skills, beginning with openly allowing them to voice what they would like to see at GBH. The Youth Advisory Council will also be a vehicle used to develop creative ways to build community among participants.

YAC Members are able to:

  • Advise Girl Be Heard in all matters related to programming and carrying out the mission -- from Sunday workshops and our after school programs to our gala.

  • Help plan outings for the Committee on Fun.

  • Receive a budget for community gatherings (be it a movie screening or trip to Great Adventure).

  • Enjoy refreshments at all meetings.

  • Be provided MetroCards for transportation.

  • Most importantly, represent participants in decision-making beyond the staff level, two Youth Advisory Council representatives serve on Girl Be Heard's Board of Directors.

  • And so much more!

If you have any questions you can, e-mail Iqra at, or Jael at

If you are a GBH participant looking for more information about joining the Youth Advisory Council click here.