In case you missed it, here is the latest edition of the YLI Newsletter.
In this issue:
A Glimpse into the Other Side of Marin County
Future Forward - How Design Thinking is Shaping YLI
Are We Sweet Enough? YLI Leaders are Serious about Policy & Equity
Relationships Matter: Building New Alliances
To make sure you always get the YLI Newsletter, subscribe here.
-- posted at Tuesday December 03, 2013 11:39 am PST --
Advocacy | CJ Callen, CEO
In her latest contribution to CompassPoint's Compass Points of View blog, YLI CEO CJ Callen shares more insights from her work leading the organization through a strategic shift. Titled "Find Your Tribe: The 'Who' of Leading Change", the piece discusses cultivating a community of allies to support leadership work and suggests reading on nonprofit leadership. Read the full piece here.
-- posted at Monday March 04, 2013 9:09 am PST --
Community Based Programs
The Marin County Youth Commission just released a report that examines how prepared for college students in Marin County schools are. This report looks at results from a survey the Youth Commission conducted in 2011, which asked 874 Marin high school students about their plans for college and use of local college preparatory programs. The 2011 survey gauged how things have changed since 2009, when the Youth Commission first surveyed local high school students on various college preparedness indicators.
The report paints a mixed picture for Marin high school students. While the number of students attending college preparatory programs has grown, the share of students unaware of how to apply for Federal financial aid also grew significantly.
The demographic profile of students who attend college prep programs has shifted, too. More Latino students and students who qualify for the Federal free or reduced lunch program were attending college prep programs in 2011 than in 2009. The survey also indicates that students attending the programs are doing so more often - 52% are attending four or more times a month, compared with 30% in 2009.
The Youth Commission will be sharing their findings with local school administrators and college preparatory programs to highlight where progress has been made and where change is still needed. They hope that more support for students and families navigating the Federal financial aid application will translate to more Marin students achieving their goals in higher education.
Download the full report here (PDF).
Learn more about the Marin County Youth Commission.
-- posted at Tuesday October 16, 2012 10:47 am PDT --
This week the Youth Leadership Institute releases a report titled Safe and Healthy School Environments for All Youth (PDF). The report lays out findings and recommendations from a youth-led survey studying the personal and emotional safety risks, discriminatory conditions, and policy gaps that impact lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in Marin County public schools.
The Marin School Climate Survey found disproportionate numbers of LGBTQ youth at Marin County schools were vulnerable to harassment based on their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Most (82%) LGBTQ respondents agreed that students use homophobic language more frequently than any other negative language at school. When students were asked if their sexual orientation affects how safe they feel at school, 37% of LGBTQQ identified students said it does, while 4% of heterosexual students said it does. In addition, 42% of LGBTQ respondents reported that nothing would be done if they sought help from an adult about harassment at school, while 27% of heterosexual students responded similarly.
In light of these concerning findings, the report recommends a variety of steps to increase student safety and improve the climate at Marin schools. The report's recommendations for Marin schools include:
- Adopt uniform policies with respect to bullying and harassment, non-discrimination, and sexual health education
- Specifically identify protected categories including race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, or the perception that a student fits one of these categories
- Make cyber-bullying a stand-alone policy that includes off-campus conduct when it threatens the school environment
The survey was developed and analyzed by the young leaders of the Marin County Youth Commission, an advisory body to the Marin County Board of Supervisors. The youth were supported by staff at YLI, the Spectrum LGBT Center, and the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University. Part of a multi-year initiative funded by the Marin Community Foundation, the survey was administered to over 3,000 students at five public high schools, making this the largest youth-led student survey in Marin County to date.
Based on the findings from this survey, MCYC is next going to advocate for policy changes at local school districts to ensure students are better protected from harassment based on perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The youth leaders see such policy changes as important steps towards creating healthy, safe, and inclusive school environments for all youth.
-- posted at Friday October 05, 2012 3:21 pm PDT --
This week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1310, legislation that Assemblyman Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) introduced at the urging of young leaders from the Youth Leadership Institute (YLI). The new law requires the state to suspend and revoke a store's license if the retailer is repeatedly convicted of selling tobacco products to minors. Under the new law, if a retailer is convicted three times in a five-year-window, its license will be suspended for 45 days. Five convictions in a five-year-window will result in license revocation.
Assemblyman Hill developed the bill after meeting with young leaders from the Youth Leadership Institute in 2011. The youth presented Hill with the findings of their research on underage tobacco use and access in San Mateo County, and the challenges they saw in holding retailers accountable for underage tobacco sales.
More than just a victory on the tobacco control front, the enactment of this law also represents a big victory in youth-led policy making and community change. “[This is] the first state level piece of legislation in my time with YLI that we as an organization have introduced and passed with youth at the helm every step of the way,” said Katrina Socco, YLI’s Senior Director of Community-Based Programs in San Mateo County.
For the current generation of youth, this new law is a valuable protection against becoming a new generation of smokers. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), almost 90 percent of adults who are regular smokers started at or before age 19. A 2009 CDCP survey found that more than one out of four high school students were current tobacco users. Smoking-related diseases remain the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, claiming the lives of 438,000 Americans annually.
Congratulations to the YLI youth leaders in San Mateo County and a big thank you to Assemblyman Hill and all who stepped forward in support of this new law!