Rukaya Alrubaye, the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) delegate from Arkansas, spoke on behalf of the NRECA youth organization at PowerXchange, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s annual meeting, which was held in Nashville March 3-8.
Alrubaye, who represented Arkansas’ Ozarks Electric Cooperative during 2022’s Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., was selected as the YLC delegate for her state. She was then chosen from 32 applicants to be NRECA’s national youth spokesperson.
The high school senior was born in Iraq and moved to the U.S. in 2008 when she was 2 years old. Alrubaye and her family became naturalized U.S. citizens in 2017.
After sharing her story with the audience, she said, “I learned so much about the history of electric cooperatives, and how electric cooperatives form a community of people who help each other.”
While on Youth Tour, she learned that like her extended family in Iraq, there are millions in the world without access to reliable electricity and that electric co-ops across the country are helping them.
“My electric cooperative family plays a big role in my love story with this country,” she said. “To be able to share my love story with this country in front of so many impactful people is truly incredible. As part of NRECA’s Youth Tour program, I have met so many youth leaders who inspire me.”
Among those leaders is Illinois’ own YLC representative Abigail Meyer of Tri-County Electric Cooperative. The high school senior was selected by her peers as the 2022-2023 YLC representative for the Illinois delegation.
The YLC is a yearlong appointment, and Meyer represented Illinois at national and state meetings throughout her term. A new YLC will be selected in June during the upcoming Youth Tour.