The Frances McClelland Youth Vision Award is given to honor a youth leader or group of leaders who are working towards improving the well-being of children, youth, families, and community. The youth embody the strength, dedication, vision and passion that Frances McClelland exhibited throughout her life and youth. This award is for a youth leader or a group of leaders who inspire hope for Arizona’s future. Frances overcame adversity through her life and manifested resilience. We are looking for youth that embody Frances’ spirit of valuing her immigrant roots, overcoming adversity, and demonstrating resilience in the face of challenges. We are looking for future professionals who will work with individuals and families in careers of family, health, criminal justice, psychology, social work, healthcare practitioners, teaching, and other related fields. The youth leader or group of leaders should be between 11-22 years old.
Alyssa Norris is a Senior at Marana High School and will graduate in May 2022. In 2019, Alyssa joined Unidas, a program sponsored by the Women's Foundation of Southern Arizona. Unidas participants strengthen their understanding of social justice issues, broaden professional development skills, and engage in local philanthropy. Alyssa is now a Unidas Mentor where she plans and facilitates meetings, teaches social justice topics, connects participants with local wellness and sex education resources, and pushes for inclusivity and intersectionality. Through philanthropy and community, Alyssa found this group of like-minded individuals who have inspired her passion for advocacy and leadership.
In the fall 2020, Alyssa began advocating for inclusive and comprehensive sex education within her high school. Alyssa has continuously pushed for partnerships and access to local sex education resources. Through The National LGBTQ Task Force, Alyssa entered a national program designed to expand her advocacy skills and focus on navigating democratic processes to enact and modernize sex-ed practices and policies.
In her senior year, Alyssa has become the Vice President of the Saguaro Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS). This enables her to integrate peers with service and leadership opportunities with aspirations of inspiring a similar passion for local advocacy. Most recently, Alyssa has been elected President of her school’s Mental and Social Health Club (MaSH). Alyssa leads participants in educating the community on mental health issues and resources, developing and implementing mental health services, and advocating for enhancements to high school mental health delivery systems.Alyssa will continue her passion for academics, advocacy, mental health, intersectionality, and community at the University of Arizona in the fall of 2022.