Recently, FEEST was given the wonderful opportunity to be guest speakers at a Social Work Class at University of Washington (UW) to help guide the students in creating the ideal youth program, along with how FEEST was able to do this for the past few years.

Meng and Cristina picked Marley and me up at school around 2 and headed off to UW. When we arrived at UW, we were a bit early so we waited for about 15 minutes before heading inside to the classroom. We were treated to snacks before starting our panel. About 10 minutes later, we sat down in front of the classroom in a circle facing the college students introducing ourselves and talked about the history of FEEST.

Many students were curious as to how FEEST centers around the youth. We each answered one by one, with Meng and Cristina taking the lead, and next Marley and me answered. We all mentioned how the youth are in charge with minimal adult power. At FEEST , the youth are in charge of everything; this ranges from the dishes we will be making for dinners, taking charge in the kitchen, deciding what will be put in the food, how the tables should be decorated, etc.

This is what makes FEEST, FEEST. Everyone is treated equally and there is no hierarchy.  The youth are the ones in charge, and not the adults. In reality, it is the complete opposite; the adults are the ones in charge while the youth have less power. The adults mentors at FEEST strives for the youth to take charge. They let us become the leader we never thought ourselves to be. They encourage the youth to think outside the box; to experiment. They encourage the youth that no matter how different your ideas are from everyone else, they will still be accepted, because at FEEST, no one’s ideas are put down.

After the panel, we had everyone in the room stand to play an activity called “Yes and…”. Which we usually play at FEEST dinners. For those who are not familiar with this game, we go around in a circle and suggest an idea; the next person would say “Yes and..” and improve this idea or make another suggestion. The tricky part about the game is that you cannot say no to the previous person’s idea. The purpose of this game is to not put any one’s ideas down and that every one’s ideas are accepted. Because we were helping create an ideal youth program, we all went around and shared our ideas of an ideal youth program.

So…. After the activity, we all came to a conclusion that an ideal youth program will have food, music, and have the youth take charge. And that wrapped up our invite as guest speakers!