Press Release

Hundreds of Youth Leaders and Organizers to Spearhead First-Of-Its-Kind Summit to Send a Strong Signal to National Nonprofit and Corporate Leaders: We Need Opportunities to Lead

State of Young People Summit--Led By Youth Leaders Aged 12 to 25--Will Feature More Than 200 Young People Articulating Their Experiences and Working in Collaboration With Adults To Drive Change

SAN FRANCISCO, June 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- This week, hundreds of young people will lead a first-of-its-kind summit to send a strong message to national nonprofit and corporate leaders: We need you to hear us, and we welcome leadership opportunities and real partnership to address the challenges facing our generation. 

Sponsored and hosted by America's Promise Alliance and Facebook Education, the Summit will serve as the launchpad for a yearlong initiative where youth leaders will work side-by-side with national nonprofit and business leaders to create new platforms and opportunities for young people to engage and take action in bold ways on a variety of issues—from education, safety, and well-being to equity, inclusion, and beyond.

The State of Young People Summit—led by youth leaders aged 12 to 25—will take place June 6 through 8 at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, CA, and will serve as an important moment for youth leaders to shape and drive the conversation around how young people and adults can work together to spark the movements and actions needed to create the environments in which every young person can thrive. The adult attendees will include 100 of the nation's top nonprofit and business leaders who are slated to listen, engage, and make commitments to create authentic leadership opportunities for young people within their organizations.

The conversations will be informed and driven by the expert insights of some of the most notable youth voices, including:

  • Will Powers — an 18-year-old senior from Somerset High School in Kentucky, an active leader in 4H, and an America's Promise Alliance Board of Trustee Member. Will is a co-founder of STAMINA, a Student Alliance for Mental Health Innovation and Action to reduce stigma around and provide resources for mental health support. 
  • Naomi Wadler — a 12-year-old middle school student who led a student walkout at her elementary school in Alexandria, Virginia on the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, FL and who spoke at the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC. Naomi recently launched a web series with ellentube called DiversiTEA with Naomi Wadler.
  • Joseph Touma — a native of West Virginia and the co-founder of Bridge the Divide, an international political organization that works to bring young people together across party lines. His goal is to help teenagers of differing ideological views to establish dialogue and respectfully converse.
  • Nastassja Morton — a 20-year-old sophomore at Chowan University and founding member of the PeerForward team at Bowie High School where she continues to motivate high schoolers towards a college education. Raised by two mothers in a same-sex parental household Nastassja proudly represents the LGBTQ community and is a strong believer in women's rights and equality.

"Too often, young people are seen as incapable of leading, not because of our inability to make change but because of stereotypes and misconceptions that are created about us. This Summit directly challenges these notions and gives us the opportunity to design ways for us to work in real partnership with the adults who are positioned to drive change on behalf of our generation and future generations," said Alan Cruz, the co-founder of Ground ONE and Project Youthquake, both youth empowerment platforms, and one of the emcees of the event. "I am excited for young people from across the country to meet and collaborate, and I hope that ideas, projects, campaigns, and organizations are born out of this Summit—even after its conclusion."

Youth leaders will use the Summit to outline a vision of partnership and collaboration for the future, which will directly shape the commitments business, nonprofit, and foundation leaders will be making to work alongside young people to jointly create the conditions for young people's success. For example, the Cleveland Foundation has partnered with MyComCleveland and Twelve Literary Arts to support a delegation of young people from the Cleveland area to attend the Summit. As they return home, all three organizations will work together to identify new ways to meaningfully collaborate with young people to solve problems and drive change. Commitments like these will be determined at the Summit and announced in its aftermath.

"Organizations like America's Promise Alliance and its many partners in both the nonprofit and corporate world are deeply committed to providing the support and creating the conditions in which every young person can meet their full potential and realize their dreams. We do this best when we listen carefully and deeply to what young people tell us they need," said John Gomperts, CEO of America's Promise Alliance. "This event is an opportunity to truly listen to young people about the state of their lives today and to work in genuine partnership with them to help realize their vision for a better future."

Media RSVP + Summit Livestream

Media interested in attending the Summit—or arranging interviews with Summit organizers and youth attendees—can RSVP by emailing Hanah Heintzelman at [email protected]. For those unable to attend in-person, the Summit's panels and programs will be livestreamed beginning June 6 at https://www.facebook.com/americaspromise/. More information on the Summit—and America's Promise Alliance—can be found at https://www.americaspromise.org/state-young-people.

America's Promise Alliance is the driving force behind a nationwide movement to improve the lives and futures of America's youth. Its work is anchored in the belief that every young person deserves to succeed, and every adult is responsible for making that happen. The Alliance brings together hundreds of national nonprofits, businesses, community and civic leaders, educators, citizens, and young people to do what no single organization can—create change on a scale that reaches millions of young people. To learn more, please visit www.AmericasPromise.org.