Youth Advocates: This site is for YOU to share your experiences working on your individual advocacy projects. Please comment on your friends’ posts and pass along any additional thoughts you would like me to post. The work you are doing is really hard and takes a lot of effort, and I am so proud of all of you for your perseverance and passion! Keep it up:)
(Program Coordinators for YASI 2016: Geena, Vivian, and Clara)
During my six weeks at YASI, I watched you guys produce amazing deliverables and make impressive headway in your own Action Campaigns. You made pamphlets, brochures, Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, stickers, bracelets, music videos, and PSA’s. As I watched each and every one of you grow over the course of the summer, I have truly been inspired by all of you, by your brilliance and your resilience. You came into this program with a willingness to learn. You came with an open mind and with an intense desire to make changes in your communities in the hopes of a better future. You came despite having commutes of over an hour and a half each way. These commutes equate to at least three hours on subways and on buses in order to attend the summer program at YASI. To make these commutes everyday without complaint takes an incredible amount of passion, determination, and grit. Furthermore, in conversations regarding race, discrimination, inequity, and health justice issues that appeared in our communities, all of you had brilliant things to say and sharp criticisms about the social issues all of you see in your present lives.
I hope YASI has encouraged each and every one of you to try to engage in society and in your communities in order to make change possible. I never thought, as an undergraduate student, that I would be able to have such profound exchanges with students in the hopes of helping to make a difference in their lives as much as they have made a difference in mine. For this opportunity and this phenomenal experience, I am truly grateful.
I cannot wait to see where life takes each of you, and I have full confidence that all of you will go on to accomplish great things in your futures!
— Vivian, YASI 2016
(Andrea on the right)
In the almost three months since YASI, just like many of you, I started school. My situation is a little different – I have graduated from college, I worked for a while and now I am in graduate school studying educational leadership – but many of the things we talk about in my classes are the same issues you discussed so intelligently and thoughtfully during our five weeks together in the summer. I even had to read an article about how health issues are so important for neighborhoods! I think my professors would have been really impressed to hear you all talk about that article and your proposals for addressing those health issues. I know that I always was, and I know that you are all already doing amazing things for your communities.
As you continue working on your projects and excelling in school, both high school and college, remember that your minds have already been opened to some very important issues in your world and communities and you will only learn more. Sometimes it will be frustrating and difficult, but the important thing is that you do anything. You are all brilliant and tenacious, and it’s people like you who change the world.
I want to thank all of the students of YASI, Jennifer, and Kavita for a truly inspiring summer. I cannot wait to see all of the amazing things you accomplish.
— Andrea, YASI 2015