Youth Programs

Youth LEAP

Youth LEAP teaches teens about social justice issues like education, employment, reproductive rights, dating violence, and more. Through an exciting in-class curriculum focused on legal rights, civic engagement, community mapping, and leadership development, youth design and launch a social justice project aimed at solving a real-world problem in their communities. Projects have included community resource centers, meeting with city policy leaders, and conducting youth-rights workshops for other teens. Some examples include:

Students from Good Shepherd Services’s Groundwork for Success spent their summer exploring the issue of stop-and-frisk, and learning how to educate their peers about their rights.

Young people from Children’s Aid Society spent their summer becoming experts on the challenges that youth face securing employment, and designing a strategy to help reduce barriers to employment for the youth in their communities.

Young people from Gotham High School spent a semester learning about the employment rights of youth, and how to navigate becoming experts on these challenges, and designing a strategy to help reduce barriers to employment for the youth in their communities.

The amazing peer leaders from the NYC DOE Students in Temporary Housing group came from all over the city and spent a semester designing and hosting a workshop series to educate students in temporary housing about their rights, and to give them tools to self-advocate for those rights!

GO Girls

GO Girls is a health justice program that transforms pre-teen and adolescent girls into community health advocates around issues of mental health, reproductive health, and nutrition/ body image.  Through an innovative in-class curriculum focused on leadership development and health education, the girls analyze a health problem impacting their peers and work with local policymakers to make the city’s health policies better for vulnerable girls!

Many teen girls at Teen’s Pact feel that access to confidential mental services in schools is limited. This group of young women explored the mental health needs of their peers, and crafted a series of recommendations for their school administrators to increase services in their school.

Community-wide mental health services are an important resource for developing girls. This team of young women from Chelsea High School spent a semester exploring the mental health needs of girls in their communities, and cataloging available community resources to meet those needs.


YouthVoiceNYC uses technology, video and other new media strategies in innovative ways to create opportunities for traditionally disempowered youth populations to participate in civic and social justice initiatives. We engage youth throughout the city around discrete campaigns that combine online youth engagement and offline youth-led action.

Be the Change: RAP invited teens from all over the city to imagine what their 2012 New Year Resolution for NYC would be, and to create a short video describing the change that they envision.  The result was a month-long contest that produced some incredible, creative and thoughtful videos about everything from the need for funding for art in the schools to the role of police in our communities. We promoted the videos on our website and our blog, and collected the messages into an open letter to the Mayor!

Youth START!: YouthVoiceNYC held Youth START!, a youth art contest and showcase highlighting youth responses to the issue of stop-and-frisk. We are looking for artists up to the age of 22.  Read More Here!

Youth-Led Mayoral Forum: RAP worked with a group of 40 incredible young people to host the city’s first-ever entirely youth-led mayoral candidates forum. The exciting forum was planned and moderated entirely by and for young people, and offered an opportunity for the mayoral candidates to meet with the city’s newest voters to address a range of issues that affect their lives.

Community Programs

RAP runs numerous discrete programs in partnership with other organizations that focus on specific issues or youth populations. These programs allow us to tackle new issues, try new strategies, and work with new organizations.

Old School New School: In the spring of 2012, a group of NYC public high school students worked with RAP, the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), and teaching artist Douglas Paulson to investigate the high school application process. The team interviewed the Department of Education, guidance counselors, parents, Inside Schools, advocates, and each other, and developed an interactive website and printable tool to illuminate this daunting but mandatory milestone.

Teen Dad Participatory Research Project: In the fall of 2012, RAP worked with a group of young fathers from Forestdale Academy to craft a research project that explored the experiences of other young fathers throughout the city. The group developed a survey, conducted focus groups and interviews, and brought their own experiences as fathers to bear to develop a set of recommendations for the city, and a toolkit for other organizations interested in engaging young dads in research.

Lotto Zone: A group of New York City high school students worked with RAP, the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), and CUP teaching artist Lindsay Catherine Harris to scratch beneath the surface of the Lotto. The group interviewed the head of the New York Lottery, a math teacher, lottery retailers, an economist, and lottery players.  The team created a video, Lotto Zone, to uncover the surprising story of the connection between Powerball, policy, and public school funding.