Empowering Youth Voices: Leaders Unite 4 Youth

YAN Unite 4 Youth Photo

In a world where the voices of young people often go unheard in decision-making processes, the Youth Action Network (YAN) took a bold step towards change with their program, Leaders Unite 4 Youth - YAN's Workshop on Policy and Decision-Making. Recognizing the critical need to involve youth in shaping policies that impact their lives and futures, YAN embarked on a mission to empower the next generation of leaders and increase resilience within the community.

On March 24th, a diverse group of youth gathered for the Leaders Unite 4 Youth workshop, eager to engage with representatives from various governmental offices. Through interactive table rotations, they had the unique opportunity to interact with decision-makers from the Board of Supervisors, County Clerk’s office, City Councils, and more. Guided by the belief that understanding the decision-making process is key to influencing change, the youth participated in activities designed to test and refine their decision-making skills.

The impact of the workshop was palpable. Feedback from participants highlighted the increased connections forged with adult leaders and a deeper comprehension of decision-making processes. Moreover, there was a growing interest among youth in exploring the Children and Youth Bill of Rights, with a focus on Employment Opportunities, Fair Treatment, and Developing Leadership Skills.

In an anonymous survey, participants voiced their appreciation for the opportunity to engage directly with adult decision-makers. They expressed a desire for more avenues to delve into policy discussions and a deeper understanding of their rights. Importantly, they recognized the value of connecting with adults who represent them and appreciated gaining insight into the inner workings of their community.

Their feedback resonated deeply with the mission of YAN. It underscored the importance of creating spaces where youth can not only learn about policies but also actively participate in shaping them. The responses reflected a hunger for more meaningful engagement and a desire to contribute to positive change within their communities.

Moving forward, Youth Action Network remains committed to facilitating these crucial conversations and creating opportunities for youth to connect with decision-makers. Leaders Unite 4 Youth was not just a workshop; it was a catalyst for empowerment, igniting the passion of young leaders and paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future. Together, youth and adult leaders are forging a path toward positive social change, one conversation at a time.

By Malena Ronga & Tuan Nguyen