Community States of Young People

In six communities across the U.S., young people designed virtual events with community leaders including organizations, schools, and municipal agencies to address pressing social issues, foster collaboration between youth and community leaders, and spur action.

In each community, young people led the planning and execution of a community-wide event to discuss challenges like insufficient mental health supports in schools, racial microaggressions, and adults not listening to the voices of youth.

Each of the following sections provides deeper insight into each community’s journey and what happens when young people are not only at the table, but also setting the table and the agenda.

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Throughout 2021
Missouri, New York, South Carolina, and New Mexico,
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The Communities:

St. Louis and Sikeston, Missouri
St. Louis and Sikeston, Missouri

Young people often do not define “safety” the same way adults do and recognize that students in different schools have different experiences of “safety.” From School Resource Officers to self-care, seven students from various districts across Missouri will lead their peers in discussing the importance of school safety and what steps are needed to be taken to ensure the wellbeing of all students and school staff. 

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Cherokee County, South Carolina
Cherokee County, South Carolina

Cherokee County FIT2gether and Thrive-U youth are designing and hosting a summit for middle and high school students as a call to action for youth voice, power, and unity. Topics will include wellness, equity, COVID-19, social unrest and polarization, educational experiences, and disrupting stereotypes, all with the goal of creating access and opportunities for everyone to be their best in Cherokee County.

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Staten Island, New York
Staten Island, New York

This youth-led virtual convening will focused on how mental health issues and racial injustice affect Staten Island youth. Young people from various schools across Staten Island will work together to deeply explore these topics through an intersectional lens in order to develop and share youth-centered and sustainable recommendations for key decision makers, other youth, and the broader Staten Island community. 

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Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida

Diverse youth advocates for social, racial, health, and environmental justice will lead this event, focusing on topics such as equity, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and collective strategies to elevate and sustain young people's voices.   The event will act as a call to come together as a community of young people—with and for one another. 

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Rochester, New York
Rochester, New York

This youth-led virtual convening will focus on how mental health issues and racial injustice affect Staten Island youth. Young people from various schools across Staten Island will work together to deeply explore these topics through an intersectional lens in order to develop and share youth-centered and sustainable recommendations for key decision makers, other youth, and the broader Staten Island community. 

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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Mission: Graduate, a project of the United Way of Central New Mexico, will partner with Learning Alliance of New Mexico. The organizations will convene young people to identify the issues most significant to youth and develop actionable next steps for community organizations, schools, and municipal agencies to partner with youth on a long-term, ongoing basis. 

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