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• What is the Fellowship program?
The YP4 Fellowship program provides an opportunity for progressive young people to develop leadership skills and to connect with a network of other progressive leaders, while creating meaningful social change in their communities. The yearlong program provides each Fellow with:
- Personalized leadership development
- Trainings on social justice, power analysis, and organizing
- Tactical trainings on skills like fundraising, media outreach, and budgeting
- Networking and community-building opportunities
- Support to implement a self-designed project in their community (a Blueprint for Social Justice)
- Professional development support and mentorship after the Fellowship year
We select 100-150 young people from across the country for each Fellowship Class.
• What are the requirements for Fellows?
All Fellows are required to attend a summer Regional Training (locations and exact dates vary by year), to work one-on-one with YP4 staff and a mentor on an Individual Leadership Development Plan, to design and implement a community project (also known as a Blueprint for Social Justice), and to attend a four-day National Summit in Washington, DC in January.
• Is this a paid Fellowship?
No, this is not a paid Fellowship. The Fellowship is not structured as an internship, nor is it a paid full- or part-time position. Rather, Fellows participate in YP4 to build skills and create change on their campuses and/or in their communities. Fellows have the opportunity to apply for seed grant funding to support their Blueprints for Social Justice through submitting a project budget and fundraising plan.
• What will it cost me to be a YP4 Fellow?
The only costs associated with the Fellowship include travel to and from the Regional Training and National Summit, and YP4 has some funds available for need-based travel scholarships. All lodging and most meals at trainings are covered by YP4.
• What are the Regional Trainings?
All Fellows begin their YP4 experience over the summer at a Regional Trainings, which take place in different cities across the country. At the four-day Regional Trainings, Fellows meet with 30-40 other young activists and organizers from their region, YP4 staff and alumni, and organizational partners from the area. The focus of these initial trainings is individual capacity-building and leadership development. Fellows are introduced to progressive values through workshops and discussions on power, privilege, oppression, intersectionality, allyship, personal storytelling, community building, and more. In addition, issue area experts join us to train the Fellows on topics ranging from environmental and reproductive justice to voting rights work. At these trainings, Fellows begin to draft a proposal for their Blueprint for Social Justice, the project they will lead in their own community later in the Fellowship year.
In 2015, Regional Trainings will be held on: June 16th- June18th ; July 13th – July 16th; and August 13th- August 16th.
• What does the mentorship component look like?
During the YP4 Fellowship year, staff matches current Fellows with former Fellows based on skill set, issue area, and regional proximity. Fellows work with their mentors throughout the Fellowship year via one-on-one sessions on individualized goal setting, networking and relationship-building, and the creation of a Blueprint for Social Justice.
• What is an Individualized Leadership Development Plan (ILDP)?
The ILDP provides Fellows with a unique opportunity to expand their leadership skills through one-on-one mentorship and individual assessments. Through the ILDP, Fellows build their competency in five core leadership areas — Cross Community Solidarity Building, Communication & Messaging, Planning & Operationalizing, Relationship Building & Developing New Leaders, and Self-Care & Sustainability — by completing assignments, using YP4’s Resource Library, , and engaging in critical conversations with their mentors and staff. Consistent with YP4’s commitment to long-term leadership development, Fellows also work with mentors to create a continued, post-Fellowship leadership development plan.
• What is the National Summit?
Each January all Fellows who have successfully participated in the mentorship component of the program come together for a National Summit, four days of trainings, workshops, and networking. At the Summit, Fellows meet other young progressive leaders from all over the country and learn powerful strategies for creating sustainable change on campuses and in their communities. At the Summit, Fellows also draft their community project (the Blueprint for Social Justice) proposals.
Fellows are expected to attend the full National Summit over MLK Weekend in January. However, exceptions can be made on an individual basis if this presents an issue. YP4 will cover the cost of Fellows’ accommodations and most meals, and we will work with Fellows to ensure they are able to afford their travel to the Summit.
The 2015 summit is YP4’s 10th annual National Summit and will be the start of a yearlong celebration of YP4’s 10 years of creating change that lasts. It will occur at the Renaissance Capitol View Hotel in Arlington, VA (right outside of Washington, DC), and the Opening Awards Ceremony / Reception will be at the AFL-CIO in downtown Washington, DC on January 13th from 6:30-8:30PM. Please RSVP for the Summit reception today by buying your ticket today.
• What is a Blueprint for Social Justice?
The Blueprint for Social Justice is a community-based, sustainable project created by each Fellow to address a need in their campus and/or community. YP4 provides Fellows with the training, mentorship, resources, and technical assistance necessary to ensure their Blueprints can be supported over the long-term. Over 700 YP4 Fellows and alumni have completed more than 400 sustainable Blueprint Projects over the past 11 years across 45 states, oftentimes in collaboration with one another.
YP4 doesn’t tell Fellows what to think or what issues to work on. Rather, we equip Fellows with the tools they need to work with those around them in determining which issue and approach is best suited for their community. Some of the projects we support include Blueprints designed to:
- Organize the student body or a community around an important issue
- Advocate for a certain community being impacted by an issue, but whose voices are not being heard
- Launch leadership, education, or mentorship programs
- Fundraise to create a direct service program such as a soup kitchen or clothing drive
- Spearhead campus resolutions that concretely improve the quality of life for students, faculty, workers, or the surrounding community
Create new alliances, coalitions, and networks on campus.
• How much time will I spend being a YP4 Fellow?
The time commitment associated with the YP4 Fellowship varies based on how much each Fellow puts into it. The Fellowship is meant to be a resource for Fellows as they start or continue their civic participation, and other than the pre-set training dates, the structure of the Fellowship is flexible. However, YP4 expects Fellows at minimum to dedicate time to the following:
- One long weekend (Thursday-Sunday) during the summer for a Regional Training.
- Four-five calls or visits with your mentor throughout the fall to spend time working on your Individualized Leadership Development Plan assignments and the planning of your Blueprint for Social Justice community project.
- An extended weekend in January for our National Summit in Washington, DC.
- The implementation of your Blueprint for Social Justice on your campus or in your community.
• Who is eligible for the YP4 Fellowship? Can I still apply even if I’m not a student?
You do not need to be a currently-enrolled student to apply for the YP4 Fellowship. YP4 works with a multitude of young people across the country. They come from all different backgrounds, but they all share a common vision of a more progressive future and want to make change in their communities now.
The majority of our Fellows are 18-24 years of age. However, if you identify as a progressive young person who wants to create positive social change in your community but you fall outside of that age bracket, we will still consider your application. We aim to meet each Fellow, or potential Fellow, where they are.
If you have additional questions about your eligibility, please contact YP4’s Director Christin “Cici” Battle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• What issues does Young People For focus on?
Over the past few years, we’ve identified 15 core issue areas in which Fellows tend to engage. There areas are:
• Community Safety & Justice
• Courts & Judicial Reform
• Disability Rights
• Economic Justice
• Educational Equity & Access
• Environmental Conservation & Justice
• Immigrant Rights
• LGBTQ+ Rights & Liberation
• Money in Elections
• Native American Empowerment, Cultural Preservation, & Tribal Sovereignty
• Public Health
• Racial Justice
• Reproductive Justice
• Voting Rights & Voter Education
• Women’s Rights
Historically, Fellows could also select Religious Liberties & Justice, along with Progressive Alliance & Coalition Building, as issue areas. The latter has since become an approach to social change that all Fellows must practice in their Blueprint projects.
Please consult our Issues page for more information, definitions, and examples of each issue area. To see examples of Blueprint community projects Fellows have completed in each area, visit our Blueprints database.
Please note that YP4’s issues list is by no means comprehensive. Each year, we have Fellows who work on issues outside of these areas. If there is another issue you are passionate about, you are still welcome to apply!
• How do I apply?
Our recruitment period runs from October to December this year. The application for YP4’s 2017-2018 Fellowship class is now open, and we encourage you to apply through our online application if you are interested in joining the next class of YP4 social justice fellows.
If you would like to nominate someone to the program, you may do so through our nomination form.
• Where and when are YP4 trainings held?
The Regional Trainings occur in different cities over the course of the summer, each in a different region of the country. Exact locations change year to year, but in 2015 Regional Trainings will be held in: Cleveland, OH for the Midwest Regional Training from June 25-28; San Francisco, CA for the West Regional Training from July 30 – August 2nd; and Charlotte, NC for the South Regional Training from August 6-9.
The YP4 National Summit is always held over the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend right outside of Washington, D.C. in Arlington, Virginia.
• I’m not sure I can attend the Regional Training or National Summit. What do I do?
See what you can do to make room in your schedule. If selected, you will have to be able to confirm your attendance at the Regional Training and the National Summit in order to accept the Fellowship. If you are absolutely unable to attend, your participation may be deferred or we may encourage you to consider applying in a year when your schedule is more open.
• What happens after the Fellowship year?
YP4’s leadership development model is rooted in a lifelong commitment to the young people who come through the program. YP4 does not invest for a few months or even just a year; YP4 invests for a lifetime.
YP4’s Advanced Leadership and Alumni programs ensure the relationships made and work completed during the Fellowship are sustained and supported for the long term. YP4’s alumni network, made up of nearly 1,500 progressive leaders, cultivates and supports the newest generation of progressive leaders by serving as mentors and trainers, by nominating and selecting our Fellowship class each year, and much more. Alumni have access to a wide array of resources for continued personal and professional development, including our Alumni Board, an online Career Center, Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College Public Policy Scholarship (awarded to public policy and management graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College who have completed YP4 programs), the Front Line Leaders Academy, and more.
• Where does YP4 get its funding?
We raise 100 percent of our operating costs through relationships with national foundations, family foundations, and individual donors.
• Is YP4 nonpartisan?
Yes. YP4 is a program of People For the American Way Foundation, which is a 501c(3) nonprofit. As such, the work we do is nonpartisan and contributions to PFAW Foundation for the YP4 program are tax-deductible.