YOUTH TOGETHER INC Overview
Programs: Currently, YT works in six high schools in the Bay Area that are situated in three school districts and two counties: Berkeley Technology Academy, Richmond High School, Youth Empowerment School, Skyline High School, Fremont Federation of High Schools and Castlemont Community of Small Schools. The YT program model combines multiracial youth development with community organizing and community building strategies in order to ensure that our constituent youth can effectively lead and organize school and community change initiatives that lead to long-term solutions which help create safe, respectful, equitable, and empowered communities. Our proposed efforts provide a system to more effectively monitor and meet the direct needs of a) 320 YT core youth organizers; b) 2,000 youth accessing the YT-led youth Centers; and, c) Over 10,000 youth, parents, teachers, administrators and community members through our advocacy and community education. Youth Together employs a three-tiered strategy in our program delivery and development of students both directly and indirectly.(1)Youth Empowerment and Leadership Development:Through Youth Together?s overall program strategies young people make the connection between their personal growth, awareness, and education with conditions at their school, in their community, and in society. YT youth learn the responsibility they bear to change the cycle of violence and to make a better life for themselves and future generations. Through the process of serving as change agents, as demonstrated in our evaluation findings, the youth become more involved and engaged in their schools and broader communities. The youth are also provided with many opportunities to be heard, respected, and valued by parents, policy makers, school staff, and community leaders.(2)One Land One People Collaborative and Student CentersYouth Together believes that youth violence results when students do not receive the resources and services that they need to express themselves in productive ways. Conditions that lead to youth violence range from a lack of institutional (school and community) recognition of their opinions to lack of anger management skills, academic preparation and support. In response to these root causes of youth violence, Youth Together students and adult allies systematically developed community collaboratives and Student Centers. Each collaborative, entitled the One Land, One People Collaborative (OLOP), is school based and brings together on-campus service providers with parents, students, and school faculty to (1) establish a system of support services for students, (2) advocate for policy changes that address root causes of student needs, and (3) support student voice in school decision making. The OLOP Collaboratives, while responsive to the particular needs and issues of each school site, share a common approach as well as core strategies to increase students? investment in themselves and their school community. Currently there are OLOP Collaboratives and Youth Centers at Skyline High School, Richmond High School, Fremont High School, and Castlemont High School.(3)Outreach, Recruitment and Replication As part of our continued effort to make sustainable institutional change, Youth Together has partnered with UC Berkeley as a way to engage young aspiring educators and activists in educational approaches that transform school communities. Youth Together adult staff and student alumni lead and teach the Fall and Spring UC Berkeley class entitled, Education for School and Community Change. As a requirement, each of the UC Berkeley students engage in a direct fieldwork placement in each of our Oakland school sites. Our larger vision is that the UC Berkeley students come back to the schools in which we work to become teacher activists and adult allies for social change.
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