“Youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today,” said St. Michael High School junior Austin Wendt, who strives to raise young people’s quality of life and strengthen their faith through his leadership positions in the community, school and church.

youth austin wedntPS.tif

St. Michael the Archangel High School junior Austin Wendt, pictured here with Mayor Kip Holden, serves as president of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, vice president of the Louisiana Association of Student Councils and a member of the Diocesan Youth Board. Photo provided by Ashley Guglielmo | St. Michael the Archangel High School

 

As president of the Baton Rouge Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, which is comprised of students from schools throughout East Baton Rouge Parish, Wendt helps identify and find solutions to problems youth face. One of the council’s main focuses is to encourage youth to eat nutritious foods and to exercise.

The council has been working with the school food services in Baton Rouge to provide healthy food choices for the students. Another project of the council is reducing youth crime through education. Council members are assisting City Year, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the graduation rate of middle and high school students, at workshops to train educators in schools in addition to hosting programs for students.

Wendt noted that the Youth Advisory Council is rebuilding its web page at brgov.com and its Facebook page to contain information for teens about the council and its ongoing projects.

As newly elected vice president of the Louisiana Association of Student Councils (LASC) Wendt will work with his fellow district officers to host the LASC district rally next spring at the University Lab High School in Baton Rouge. He said he works at the local level to help LASC’s mission of developing students’ character and leadership skills by talking to students at St. Michael about their potential.

“I’m very visible throughout the school,” said Wendt.

A member of St. Jean Vianney Church in Baton Rouge, Wendt is also a leader in the church as a member of the Diocesan Youth Board. According to Wendt, events such as Diocesan World Youth Day, Diocesan Youth Conference and Abbey Youth Festival help young people to “get excited about the faith.”

Wendt, who was instrumental in getting a eucharistic adoration chapel established at St. Michael High School, says traditions are very important to the youth.

“Youth like the traditions. It’s the incense, the symbols, liturgical texts, the longstanding traditions of the church that go back to the early centuries,” Wendt said.

He said youth get excited about and have a new perspective of the traditions that can make them effective evangelizers.

“It’s an exciting time for the church,” said Wendt.

He challenged youth to see their call to leadership and that even if they serve in capacities that are not directly tied to the church, they are called to be the face of Christ where they are.