YLI is my Story: Voices from the Field
Community Based Programs | Abdellatif Benterkia, Youth Philanthropist from San Francisco BLING
My name is Abdellatif Benterkia, and I am a youth philanthropist in BLING, a San Francisco YLI program. On July 9-11 I attended Free Minds Free People Conference in Oakland, California. It was my first time ever attending a social justice conference. I met a lot of people whom came from different backgrounds. It was very emotional to me seeing that amount of people, fighting for something that I am passionate about and that’s unique.
I was featured on a panel called “Funding Our Liberation: Lessons from Youth Philanthropy.” The panel was made up of three youth from San Francisco youth philanthropy programs. One panelist described her social enterprise project that used indigenous clothing from Guatemala to make trendy jackets in the U.S. We also hosted a gallery walk where we featured some of the projects we funded, including Indigenous Roots: a youth organized project for the community that taught community people how to cook traditional food. Another project was For Girls By Girls: this youth project fundraised money to create scholarships for low-income girls to attend college.
It was a highlight for me to speak to over 20 audience members who were from all areas of the country, and they were looking to us as an example for how philanthropy could look differently in their own communities. On our panel, we emphasized youth power. Youth know what youth need. We can create and fund projects that are solutions to the needs of our communities. We have the ability to harness money and use it in a good way to improve our communities.
One lesson for me was a realization that different communities need a program like BLING, and how we are disconnected from them. I want to build out networks to share the success we have in the Bay Area throughout the country.
-- posted at Friday July 31, 2015 10:55 am PDT --
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.