Low-income youth of color have become New York City's permanent underclass. In 2015, just 61% of students in NYC's lowest-income districts graduated high school in four years, compared to more than 95% in the highest-income districts. In the 2015-16 school year, student homelessness shot up 15%. Young people are systematically ignored as stakeholders when addressing issues that most impact them, but have the resilience, tenacity and innovation to affect meaningful, lasting positive change.
RAP youth leaders work with law & policy experts and Resilience Advocacy Project staff - lawyers, social workers, journalists, and activists - to develop and lead concrete initiatives to push for change around these entrenched social problems. We give impacted youth the tools to hone and amplify their voices, countering these sobering statistics: issue identification, participatory action research, organizing strategies, data analysis and powerful communication to advocate for structural change.
RAP youth leaders and the peers they train make government and community systems more responsive to the needs of New York City's most vulnerable youth. Our intentional focus on recruiting low-income youth of color elevates the voices of those most historically shut out of system-change initiatives. RAP's youth demonstrate the power of low-income youth of color to be active, engaged community members and catalysts for positive change in their own lives and in their communities.