Youth Community Organizing
Sociedad Latina’s Youth Community Organizing program originated in 2003, as a means of bonding youth with their communities in socially responsible ways that effect positive change. The ongoing goals of the program are twofold:
- Include youth in the existing power structures that affect their daily lives through community organizing.
- Improve the conditions affecting Latino youth and families in Boston.
Our approach to community organizing builds on the belief that those most affected by social injustices in our community, though historically marginalized and disempowered, are in the best position to generate innovative solutions and create meaningful change.
“I was so proud of myself that I could do that--that I couldtalk to people with power. I went up to the microphone and as I spoke up, I was completely confident. All these adults were looking at me. I was only 15, and it was a scary moment, but very memorable. Sociedad Latina really empowers youth to do far beyond what is expected.”
-Jasmin Irizarryon her experiences testifying in front of the Boston City Council as a Youth Community Organizer
Sociedad Latina Alumni
Each year our Youth Community Organizing program engages a cadre of youth ages 14-21, providing training and space for them to identify, research, and take action on issues affecting their lives. Over the years, we have developed a process for cultivating Youth Community Organizers that blends self-reflection, understanding of power structures, and skill development in organizing tactics. Training includes modules on social justice and power systems, organizing and base-building, and developing policy campaigns and action plans. Each year, the core group of 15-30 Youth Community Organizers conduct targeted outreach and recruitment, building a base of more than 500 youth and adult supporters, training them in social justice issues and organizing, and mobilizing them to connect to power structures and advocate for positive change in our community.
As Leadership Pipeline participants, Youth Community Organizers receive a stipend for their work in the community, along with career exploration opportunities and workforce development training building hard and soft work skills that will prepare them for future success as adults. As a requirement for employment, YCOs cross-enroll in Sociedad Latina's Mission Possible! College Access Program, where they work with staff and College Coaches to stay on track for graduation and prepare for higher education.
YCOs are currently leading the citywide Initiative to Build Cultural Proficiency in Boston Public Schools.
For more information on Sociedad Latina's Youth Community Organizing Program or any of the Initiatives, contact Melissa Luna at 617-442-4299 x119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.