Lillian Sherburne, 17, of Boothbay, Maine, a senior at Boothbay Region High School, is now president of her school’s Student Health Advisory Board (SHAB) after playing a leading role for several years in board initiatives that promote healthy and safe lifestyles for students. As the youngest child and only girl in her family, Lilly said she was always trying to get her voice heard. But then she entered seventh grade and joined the Student Health Advisory Board. “I had been searching for a place where I would feel heard, where I could learn to lead, and this group was exactly what I’d been looking for.”
Lilly started by attending weekly meetings and leadership conferences, where she helped brainstorm projects that could make her community a healthier place. Over the years, she has worked on many different health and wellness initiatives dealing with topics such as domestic violence, substance abuse, nutrition, gender equality and sexually transmitted diseases. Her most significant project was the production of an award-winning public service announcement designed to educate classmates about the dangers of smoking. Lilly and fellow board members researched the topic and then spent more than 200 hours scripting, filming and editing the PSA, which has now been seen by young people across Maine. “My work with SHAB has fostered my love of advocacy and volunteerism, showing me that my voice matters and that I am able to create change not only in my life but in others’ lives as well,” said Lilly.