Our Youth Policy Fellows have come a long way since we last updated you in November!
In the past 3 months, these fellows spent time getting to know one another (the six of them represent 4 different boroughs!) and grappling with definitions of “identity.” In their group, the fellows were able to be critical of their surroundings and have deep discussions about what it means to be a young person of color in today’s world facing these issues in their community. In order for this to be a truly youth-led program, we gave space for the young people to define their experiences of success in the fellowship in their own terms. Here’s a little bit of what they shared:
“[I felt] Relieved, because I was able to tell my story which is what I don’t do all the time.”
“I felt understood.”
“Everyone spoke from their heart, their definition of ‘myself.’”
“I felt accomplished as the citizen I should.”
“[I felt] Great about getting farther than where I was before.”
“I felt like I did something that mattered.”
The policy fellows have also chosen the community issues they’ll be addressing this year and are starting to identify the goals of their individual advocacy projects! The issues chosen cover a range of topics, including domestic violence, LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, immigrant worker’s rights, police brutality, and continuing education for incarcerated adults.
Thanks to your support, this program is authentically youth-led and we are able to truly engage them as stakeholders in the success of their policy projects — instead of imposing ideas of what success should look like on them. If you’d like to continue to support these fellows as they deepen their work, please check out their GlobalGiving microproject page here. They’re trying to raise funds to attend a weekend leadership retreat outside of the city, where they’ll work together to continue to develop community and teamwork through outdoor, experiential learning. Spread the word! And stay tuned to RAP’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates!