Support this unique program that develops the next generation of community leaders, activists, and policy makers by engaging and empowering vulnerable youth, ages 14 to 18, who display leadership potential, but lack the support, resources, and opportunity to excel. The Youth Empowerment Program offers teens a opportunity to actively participate in community development by identifying issues; conducting research; proposing the resulting solutions to public officials; & reflecting on the process.
Many youth from low-income families, living in crime-ridden neighborhoods in the Pacific Northwest, are subjected to violent behavior by their peers and other community members - including gang violence - and go to poorly funded schools with few opportunities. Many teenagers grow up in single parent households where a mother, father, or grandparent is struggling to put food on the table. These youth often lack hope and a vision of a better future for themselves and their communities.
The Youth Empowerment Program empowers vulnerable youth, ages 14-18, who show leadership potential, to make a difference in their own communities. Through the program's year-long curriculum, the teens develop vital skills in leadership, cive engagement, cirtical thinking, advocacy, and team building. The participating teens learn to identify local issues, research and propose solutions, and present them to local, state, and national public officials.
Solutions proposed to government officials by the teens participating in the Youth Empowerment Program may actually become policies and laws. Marginalized communities can be made safer for children and youth to fulfill their potential and experience life in its fullest. Youth leaders can make a difference in their communities with their advocacy and "voice."
"I know now that I am able to do anything I want in life and I have a voice - especially being a small, Hispanic young woman." - Vianeli Garcia, Youth Empowerment Program participant in 2009
Total Funding Received to Date: $305
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $29,695
Total Funding Goal: $30,000