Opening in February 2018, the Merced office was the first YLI expansion in 14 years. Program staff and freshly minted youth leaders in the Girls & Women of Color (GWoC) and Rise & Lift programs dove right in with their #MErcedToo campaign, addressing sexual misconduct in the Merced Unified High School District.

By summer, the office was already growing as YLI merged with youth media organization, YouthWire. As part of this merge, Merced’s YLI office took in the We’Ced program, which had been operating in Merced since 2011, training young people in storytelling skills and amplifying their voices on issues that matter to them and their communities.

The office also begun to extend its reach into neighboring Madera, where the Madera Youth Commission and Student Advocacy Council have just been established.

Over the next year, the Merced office will be working to establish YLI’s innovative, powerful youth programming while building strong relationships within the community. The programs are driven by La Cultura Cura curriculum, which integrates policy advocacy change and healing from trauma. It is youth-led, adult-supported, and elder-guided.

Current Programs

Timeline of Wins in Merced

June 13, 2018 · 

Merced Youth Demand Changes to Sexual Harassment Policy at School

Girls and Womyn of Color youth and staff advocated and facilitated for the passing of several policies that will create safer conditions for students and staff at Merced Union High School District. The school board adopted the following changes: Youth will be represented on the School Board, either as appointed members or with voting rights … Continued

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