Insights from thought leaders working to improve the lives of America’s Youth

Zarea Boyde

Zarea Boyde

What is the biggest issue facing your community and what should be done about it? This is the question select Dunbar High students answered in a two-minute "Project Soapbox" speech in participation with the Mikva Challenge, an organization that develops youth to be empowered, informed, and active citizens. This story is an edited version of 10th grader Zarea Boyde’s speech. Boyde was a finalist at Mikva Challenge D.C.'s citywide Project Soapbox competition in December.
Eva Harder
Writer and Editor, America's Promise Alliance
As 2017 comes to a close, we’ve gathered a handful of the stories that capture the kind of tough but important work that people across the country do with and for young people every day. If you’re tired of bleak headlines filling your newsfeed and want examples of how to enact positive change in ways both big and small, check out a few of our favorites from the last year.
America's Promise Alliance


Junior in College
I am not better nor am I worse than the other 10.2 million undocumented immigrants that were not granted this protection in the first place. I am not the “Good Immigrant.” I am not the “Dreamer.” Our parents, our families, those who made the decision to come to a country in which they are criminalized, they are the original dreamers. Not us.
Gabe Abdellatif

Gabe Abdellatif

America’s Promise Youth Leadership finalist
In the spring of my junior year of high school, I planned a meeting with my guidance counselor. We were set to go over my college application plans in preparation for the upcoming school year.
Melinda Hudson

Melinda Hudson

Sr. Advisor to Chair and CEO, America's Promise Alliance
At a recent Capitol Hill briefing releasing new research from Service Year Alliance, there was one stat that made me put down my box lunch and really listen: National service operates in 1 in 4 of our lowest performing schools. This is amazing—but sobering. One in four is simply not enough
Alejandro Gac-Artigas
Founder and Chief Executive Officer Springboard Collaborative
My dad is a playwright. In the 70s in his native Chile, he was jailed as a political prisoner. His crime? He directed a play in protest of Pinochet’s dictatorship. After years of torture, he made it out alive. He was luckier than many. Even luckier, he met my mother while living in exile in Paris.
Jessica Mendoza, Minnesota Alliance with Youth

Jessica Mendoza

Minnesota Alliance with Youth
Schools are failing students by being too quick to execute a punishment, which has lasting, negative impacts. To combat racial disparities in school and society, schools need a new approach to school discipline that is grounded in student perspectives and alternatives that work.
Jacob Schimetz

Jacob Schimetz

Minnesota Youth Council
Many young people today are aware of the tools that amplify our voice—social media being the most prominent—but most of us don’t see the point in using them. After all, who cares what young people think? It’s not enough to empower youth by giving them the tools, adults must also embolden young people by giving them the confidence and courage to use them.
Fish Stark

Fish Stark

Peace First Fellow-in-Residence
In all the outpouring of news and commentary that’s followed the violence in Charlottesville, there’s one story that’s been excluded: the flood of young people who are actively pushing back against in
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Eva Harder & Shannon M. Varga, Ph.D

Writer, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
ESL. Non-native English speaker. Limited English proficient.   These may be some of the terms that come to mind when you’re trying to describe students whose first language isn’t English.
Erin White

Erin White

Senior Director America's Promise Alliance
While it is tempting to describe a young person’s path to adulthood as a single, linear road, the reality is that all young people do not reach milestones at the same time or in the same way.
Monika Kincheloe

Monika Kincheloe

Senior Director, GradNation Campaign
How can we help young people dealing with violence and trauma at home succeed in the classroom? As we enter the final stretch of the GradNation campaign, where should we focus most of our energy? The answers can be found in the new GradNation Action Platform, a set of six action areas for states and communities to raise graduation rates and support student success.