In 2003, the County of Fresno approached YLI to establish a local office — YLI’s first outside of the Bay Area. Since then, YLI’s Fresno office has blossomed, supporting thousands of youth to to build powerful social justice campaigns that address the unique needs of both urban and rural communities.
The office launched with new Friday Night Live chapters (FNL), working with the state-level network to address youth alcohol and drug use. Since that time, the office has grown rapidly to address a broad range of issues impacting youth and their communities. Programs like Boys and Men of Color (BMoC) focused in on empowering youth who are among the most vulnerable. Leadership programs like Youth Advocacy Leadership League (YALL) and Youth Leadership Alumni Board (YLAB) brings veteran youth leaders from across programs to develop county-wide strategies and campaigns.
In 2016, the City of Fresno’s first Youth Commission was established, and the Rural Youth Commission Advocacy is working to increase civic engagement in youth across the region. In the fall of 2018, The kNOw Youth Media joined the Fresno YLI office bringing a history of youth-led media expertise.
This powerhouse office boasts numerous claims to fame. The newly minted Fresno Youth Commission has already gained huge wins for youth jobs. In 2017, they successfully advocated for including $50,000 for city internships and created a Task Force to identify additional opportunities for youth. The SUCCESS campaign brought restorative justice to Fresno Unified School District, and FNL’s smoke-free parks campaign established new signage in the surrounding cities of Selma and Kerman.
Timeline of Wins in Fresno
On February 11th it was announced that Central Valley Senior Director of Programs Yammilette Rodriguez was awarded the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award. These awards, “recognize and support individuals who are advancing innovative and effective solutions to significant state issues” and provide a $250,000 investment in the work.
Fresno Unified adopts Safe Spaces policy for undocumented students after YLI youth speak out at school board meeting.
YLI youth, staff and community partners worked tirelessly to get Fresno City Council to create the city’s first-ever youth commission.
In June 2012, YLI’s Fresno office started facilitating a collaborative effort of several youth development organizations working to increase student attendance and achievement, entitled Students United to Create a Climate of Engagement, Support and Safety (SUCCESS). The SUCCESS team utilizes the YLI youth development, youth action research and youth advocacy frameworks to improve local school … Continued