YOUTH ACTION COALITION INC

Rating: 5 stars   15 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, Arts & Culture, Children & Youth

Location: P.O. Box 747 Amherst MA 01004 USA

Mission: Youth Action Coalition promotes youth empowerment through creative expression, community building, and social action initiatives. We help youth foster their natural talents as artists and build their strengths as community leaders and agents of change.
Target demographics: Our arts and media projects bring together youth from across the race/class/social spectrum, ages 12-18, offering access to free, high quality arts programming, helping youth break down barriers, and offering a safe space for shared dialogue and creative collaboration.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Arts-for-Change programs serves 60-80 young people annually
Geographic areas served: Amherst and Ware, MA and the surrounding communities
Programs: Our Arts-for-Change project is comprised of individual programsinterwoven through a shared pedagogy of in-depth art training, social justiceeducation and community organizing. Through our GirlsEyeView project (photography-based project for young womenrunning in Ware since 1997 and Amherst since 1999), members have launched over45 exhibitions of their work, sold their photographs, led discussions on issuesof growing up female, and engaged in exchanges between the members of Amherstand Ware. In this context they are coming together across the race/class divideand examining critical issues together and creating artwork that speaks totheir concerns. Get Up Get Down—a social justice public art group active since2000—works with youth in Amherst to create public works that speak to theirconcerns as youth. They have created 2 large-scale 3-D murals (one in town andone in their high school) that speak about consumerism, the aftermath of 9/11and Hurricane Katrina, and identity politics in America, as well as manyindividual artworks, a puppet parade and hosted 2 regional youth conferences intheir early years. They have recently been commissioned to produce artworks andsignage for local businesses and individuals and are making a name forthemselves as youth artists with a mission.In Video Vanguards (active since 2003), youth of color and allies worktogether as media producers, critics and educators, as they use their videoworks to speak to deep issues of race, class, gender, war, isolation,prejudice, homophobia, juvenile justice. VV has been a beacon for YAC,spearheading our anti-racism work through thought and action. Through thisproject dozens of our youth and adults have been to trainings, led workshops,and disseminated their work to wider audiences. In this space young people ofcolor come together with allies to talk about the effects of living in amajority white area and position their work around these issues.Our newest program is

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I was an intern for the Youth Action Coalition for two years, and was so incredibly impressed with the effect they have on the Amherst and Ware communities in MA. YAC strives to provide a safe space for youth to be creative, build confidence, and learn about how they can improve their communities in meaningful ways. Their art and social justice-based curriculum is top-notch and engages youth to explore new art forms while learning about struggles that communities face in today's world. I would definitely recommend this program to youths in the area, as well as to community members who are looking for a meaningful organization to devote their time to.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

expand it to more towns! I think YAC's youth programs would flourish in more towns than just Amherst and Ware. Hopefully they will eventually have the funds to do so!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I joined Youth Action Coalition's family as a V.V member when I was a sophomore in H.S. Friends told me to come along to a Video Vanguards meeting and I stayed! The atmosphere created at Amherst Media with other youth and a super group of talented artists and students from Hampshire College was like none other. I found myself, my voice and my path by participating in YAC programs and I know my friends and peers could say the same. YAC also helped steer my art and bring me to my current role as an artist, specializing in video and media work! GET INVOLVED IF YOU"RE A YOUNG PERSON AND AVAILABLE!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

To create their own spaces instead of renting/borrowing/receiving from local places.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Youth Action Coalition meets youth where they are, and inspires deep creativity and social justice at the same time. It is a unique and valued organization that has been a safe place and a place of great hope for many youth.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I became a board member after my daughter became a participant in YAC programs. The connections she made to other students and staff were important at a time when she was struggling through teenage years. My daughter grew as a person, as a film maker and learned to see herself as agent of change. This gave her a sense of identity and purpose that infuses her life to this day.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wish there were not a constant struggle for funds for this excellent organization.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I began my connection to Youth Action Coalition as a parent. My daughter graduated from participant in Girls Eye View to peer leader and then to participant and peer leader in Video Vanguard. I watched Girl’s Eye View transform the life of my 13 year old, full of 8th grade angst, depressed and isolated from her family and friends. Girl’s Eye View became a lifeline. I believe YAC holds out hope to our young people. I saw hope blossom first hand through the strength of my daughter’s growing connection to a community that took her in, gave her meaning and taught her the skills that would take her down the path to her passion. I have continued to be part of Youth Action Coalition as a Board member even after my duaghter has grown and moved on to other parts of her life. I believe strongly that this organization is a gem in our community.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the growth of the young people who move through it's programs. They find their voice, they learn they have the power to effect change in their community and they are respected for their insight and knowledge.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

keep it's efforts focused on the needs of the youth it serves and the programming it delivers so well without the constant stress of funding them.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I am a licensed social worker who has focused on community integrative practice and creative arts as a tool with which to educate and empower youth, thier families, and of course the broader community. I feel strongly that Youth Action Coalition (YAC) is a heroic and fierce force in the work that they do, effecting all whom participate on many levels: from the youth who are served, the board members to do serve, and the families that witness thier children grow from thier engagement. I also have been an intern and an employee of YAC over many years (although not currently) and it has additionally provided me with a sense of community, empowerment of my own as an adult- and at the onset as a young adult trying to identify what was important to me- and I will forever credit this experience with YAC as an enormous role in the work I do today, and the pride I feel in being part of something proactive, authentic, and beautiful. The youth I worked with have gone on to do various things in thier lives, however when I have run into them in the community, they always share how valuable the lessons about self, social justice and creativity are to them. It is continually inspiring to see this evidence, and this should be recognized in all aspects of non-profit work, beyond the communities in which YAC works. To note: below it is asked what year of affiliation I have.... I have had ten years in affiliation with YAC but was only able to check one year in the dropdown menue and checked the most recent of my direct work with YAC. Thank you.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would like to see change in the financial support that YAC receives in order for the organization to serve more communities, reach youth in more varied demographic areas, as well as to be able to support thier staff financially on a full time basis- with benefits, etc.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I'm highly impressed with the achievements & goals YAC Amherst have pursued. Last time I seen them was at the Juneteenth event 2013 and they had a wonderful display in the center of town.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Add more people!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

YAC is a community instutition--without it, the youth in our area would lack important visibility. Youth are envisioning and creating change, and YAC continues to support, cultivate, and give credibility to our youth community.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

As a community member, I really appreciate the oppurtunity that YAC gives me to participate, enjoy, and support the work of local youth. I've been to every Video Vangaurd's event over the last two years - and I would not have traded a minute of it for anything else!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

bring meaningful and socially conscious arts curriculum to all interested youth in Western Massachusetts! "Youth are apathetic" would never be heard again. Instead, our are would be known for our articulate youth who are changing the world!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I could not have more enthusiasm for this organization. YAC does such a great job empowering youth and giving them a safe place to learn and create and grow. I have learned how to be a great ally to youth through my time volunteering and I have found the most wonderful mentors. I have watched young people go from shy kids with some ideas about art to becoming leaders and activists in their schools and communities. It is so inspiring, and I know that the Youth Action Coalition has played a huge role in the lives of these young people.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

The staff at Youth Action Coalition come to our school with creativity, high energy and a sense of loyalty to our students. They help foster passion and confidence for students who , at times, may not be able to see themselves through a more traditional lens. We are so fortunate to have them as part of our community.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase time and provide transportation to students.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

I love YAC's vision and creativity and have seen and applaud the positive and lasting impact of its work on the young people of western Massachusetts.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful?