Our Mission

RAP works to empower youth to become leaders in the fight against poverty.

We combine innovative youth leadership programs with targeted policy advocacy in order to build resilient youth who are able to become catalysts for positive change in their lives and communities.



Social Justice. A truly socially just society is one in which all individuals, irrespective of background, have equal access to the benefits of that society. All of our programs and policy initiatives aim to ensure that all youth have access to resources they need to maximize their potential and achieve their dreams.


Positive Social Action. True social justice requires positive social action. All of our programs and policy initiatives include an action component. We equip young people to actually respond to the social issues they see around them through deliberate and discrete action. They may not always succeed, but in taking action, they witness their own power.


Youth Agency and Voice. We are committed to nurturing genuine youth leadership. In practice, this means that we engage young people as partners in the development and implementation of our programs and policy initiatives.


Youth Potential. We believe that all young people have the potential to make a healthy transition into adulthood. In practice, this means that we work to identify and nurture the individual strengths and capacities of every young person that we work with.


Innovation and Collaboration. We believe that entrenched social problems like poverty can be solved when creative minds work together. In practice, this means that we pilot new youth leadership and advocacy strategies, test new methods for giving shape to proven research, and collaborate with new partners.

The Problem

The influence of poverty in a young person’s life is pervasive and insidious. Poor housing, over-crowded classrooms, and lack of access to preventive health care are just some of the challenges facing youth that can chip away at their resilience and cloud their vision of what is possible for their futures.

Too often, the voices and priorities of youth impacted by poverty are ignored when developing responses to social and community problems. This not only further disempowers young people, it also often results in community and policy responses that are not truly responsive to their needs.

RAP believes that young people have a real role to play in responding to the problems that they see in their communities. We work to give them the skills, confidence and support to improve their own lives and to play a leadership role in their communities.

RAP’s Theory of Change

RAP is rooted in a simple yet powerful belief: that all children are naturally resilient. All human beings have an innate ability to call upon the resources and supports we need to keep going in the face of hardship.

Poverty eats away at this resilience by shaping young people’s vision of what is possible in their lives.

We believe that the way to break cycles of poverty is to make sure that children and youth can access the educational, economic, and health resources they need to make a healthy transition into adulthood and out of poverty. In practice, this means both that low-income youth are able to advocate for access to anti-poverty resources; and that they are really engaged as real stakeholders in system-level efforts to improve the laws impacting them.