Teens in the U.S., especially those from under-served backgrounds, lack other meaningful civic engagement opportunities. They are rarely invited or respected for their perspectives & proposals. When they are, it's often tokenized. Public schools, where students are most likely to access such experiences, are ill-equipped to do so and the limited opportunities available tend to benefit white, wealthy, and/or college-bound students. This leads to clear disparities in authentic civic engagement.
Through this program, our beneficiaries will be learning lifelong community organizing, political research, and advocacy skills. By promoting this habit of civic engagement built on authentic civic advocacy during the formative years of adolescence, we can produce a generation committed to lifelong and meaningful civic engagement. Chris says, "Thanks to YAP, I learned how to work with teams, speak publicly, work with statistical data, research, and overall build a campaign from the bottom up."
This project's impact is twofold. First, the individual teens benefit from cultivating necessary academic & career skills so they can begin a path of sustained civic engagement, enter key decision-making roles, and continue promoting a culture of youth power as they age into adults. Secondly, for every policy win our teen-led teams secure, they leave behind systemic positive change felt by the community for generations to come, potentially impacting hundreds of thousands Americans nationwide.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).
YOUth ACTivism: Guide to Change