Youth voice in California just got LOUDER.
Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) is announcing the acquisition of YouthWire, a youth media organization that produces hyper-local news content in underserved communities. YouthWire is the first statewide collaboration of youth reporters anywhere in the country.
The unanimous board decision follows months of work by both organizations, our respective boards, staff, youth and community partners to discern the best path forward to support the inclusion of youth voice in every level of civic discourse.
As of October 1, 2018, YLI will absorb the four current YouthWire offices and five programs, resulting in 77 programs that serve over 2,000 young people a week. The move reiterates our commitment to the Central Valley with merged programming in Fresno and Merced, allows for the growth of youth media into our Bay Area offices of Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo and expands YLI’s footprint to include the Southern California sites of Long Beach and the Eastern Coachella Valley.
“Welcoming YouthWire to Youth Leadership Institute is our commitment to inclusive, shared leadership. There is more that we can do together than either can do apart. As we have watched youth participate in both of our programs, we saw an opportunity to expand leadership and voice for young people and communities across California.” said Jon Marker, YLI Chief Executive Officer.
YouthWire is deeply aligned with YLI’s core values of social justice, community, innovation, and inclusion. Like YLI’s youth leaders, YouthWire’s youth reporters work on the issues that matter most to young people and their communities. And leading organizations are celebrating them: among the 12 youth leaders chosen from across the state to receive The California Endowment’s inaugural youth awards were YLI’s Guadalupe Reyes Calderon and YouthWire’s Danyeal Escobar.
“YouthWire is proud to be joining Youth Leadership Institute, which has a legacy of deep support for young people, a commitment to their communities, and a belief that youth voice is needed to overcome our most pressing challenges,” said Tim Haydock, YouthWire Executive Director.
The move adds storytelling and media advocacy to YLI’s current leadership programming, amplifying youth voice in powerful new ways. Alongside campaigns to reduce the number of liquor stores in low-income neighborhoods of color, county and city youth commissions, and leadership and advocacy groups for youth of color, YLI will have dedicated youth media programs that deliver regular youth-led content via web, print, and multimedia publications.
“We understand and deeply believe that our work is in uplifting and centering the voices of young people most impacted by inequities in their communities. Including youth media programming in our organization is a continued investment in youth voice and leadership to create change. Together we will learn alongside young people what it means to be adult allies in this work, what it means to work for justice, and what it means to center the voices of young people in all of our regions,” said Patty Barahona, YLI Chief People Officer.
At the heart of everything we do is a deep belief that young people must be a part of the solution, that the present moment requires young people, especially young people of color, to raise their voices in every aspect of public life and leadership. This organizational move allows us to double down on our commitment to youth voice and inclusion.
All of this growth is a result of 27 years of supporting youth leadership in our communities and across the nation. We couldn’t be more proud to announce these new opportunities as we continue to be a part of the movement that young people are building in, and with, our communities, our state, and our world.
You can be a part of this movement, too. Join us for the Raise Your Voices Gala on November 15, 2018 to celebrate all that young people have accomplished in our programs and help us welcome in the next chapter of YLI, where youth voice drives change so that all communities thrive.