When There Wasn’t Space for Us, We Made our Own: New YLI Office Opens in Coachella!

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Campaign Victories, YLI is My Story

This week we are welcoming young people and our community to join us in celebrating the opening of the new Youth Leadership Institute Eastern Coachella Valley (ECV) office. This ECV office will house our two local programs, Coachella Unincorporated and ¡Que Madre! Media Collective.

This is the first time in more than four years we will be able to welcome our community into a physical space. Without an office, Coachella Uninc., our longest running program and the first youth media program based in the ECV, had to think creatively about how we engaged and supported young people in our community. Lack of infrastructure and investment, especially for young people, is an all too common story in our rural, largely unincorporated area.

Despite the limited resources, we remained resourceful.

When there wasn’t space for us, we made our own and our community supported us every step of the way. We’ve met in parks, in family homes, in classrooms, in libraries, in panaderíes and in a coffee shop. I am eternally grateful to all the community members, educators and local partners who opened up their own space for us to meet with young people and to host media trainings.

With this new office space in Coachella, our programs will be able to partner with more young people in the ECV to uplift and amplify stories from our community. We will be able to provide a space where all young people can feel welcomed and supported.

In this new space, we will continue to lead the way in youth partnerships and ensuring that youth voice is heard. Because at our core, we believe that youth voice changes communities.

If you are in the Eastern Coachella Valley this week, please join us for this community celebration. There will be program presentations and an exciting new photography installation by Bryan Mendez, Coachella Uninc. reporter and director of Estamos Aquí: A Community Documentary.

See below for details — join us!

–written by Amber Amaya, Program Manager