The regional trainings mark the beginning of each new Fellowship year. At the regional trainings Fellows learn foundational social justice leadership skills through workshops, alumni trainers, and discussions. This event is closed.

The regional trainings mark the beginning of each new Fellowship year. At the regional trainings Fellows learn foundational social justice leadership skills through workshops, alumni trainers, and discussions. This event is closed.

YP4 will be hosting its 11th annual Young People For (YP4) National Summit from January 15-18, 2016 in Arlington, VA at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel. 

At this pinnacle event, YP4 will convene 120 fellows from 98 campuses in 35 states and over 40 alumni who are leading in their communities across the country. Fellows have the opportunity to further develop leadership skills, gain tools and resources to advance their Blueprints for Social Justice, and network with leaders in the progressive movement.

The National Summit will kick off with an awards reception. If you would like to attend or make a contribution to YP4, please purchase tickets or donate here for this year’s National Summit Reception.

If you are a current fellow, please register here for this year’s National Summit at this link. Please note that, if you are a member of the Courts Cohort, your stay in DC will be extended to Tuesday, January 19th. It’s imperative that all fellows register for National Summit ASAP.

If you are interested in participating in the next year’s YP4 National Summit as a fellow, please apply today to be a member of the 2016-2017 YP4 Fellowship class. YP4 will be selecting applicants throughout the year on a rolling basis.

In 2015, YP4 hosted three regional trainings at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH; the University of California at Berkeley; and Charlotte, NC at Queens University of Charlotte.

Fellows were trained on eight core curriculum pieces and had the opportunity to learn from and interact with YP4 staff, alumni and partners. Fellows had time to think critically and collaborate on their Blueprints for Social Justice through issue-based working groups. They also delved deeper into facilitated conversations on institutional power, privilege, oppression and race through identity-based breakout groups.

In addition to the regional trainings, YP4 hosted a pre-convening for six community college fellows from North Carolina. The day-long training explored and discussed a variety of topics: the state of their communities and cities; the diversity of resources and observations within their communities and why they want to do social justice work; how to pitch their work when they are networking and building relationships with allies, supporters and the general public; what skills they already have and what skills they need; how to develop elevator pitches to talk about their work; how to move their work along within academic and/or political networks; how to maneuver within social justice networks; how to build their own teams to advance a progressive agenda in their communities; and how to estimate the amount of money it take to do their work and how raise support for it.

In early September Fellows were matched with peer and alumni mentors to support their individual development and the implementation of their Blueprints for Social Justice. YP4 staff looks forward to supporting this class of 120 Fellows from 35 states and 90 campus and communities and supporting them in enacting positive change.

In the months after YP4’s Inaugural Courts Matter Training, fellows returned to their communities and strategized ways to incorporate a courts lens into their day-to-day work. As fellows reached out to other students, community organizations, and neighborhood leaders, they quickly discovered a key barrier to more impactful organizing on courts issues: a lack of information on how courts function at the state and federal level as well as a general confusion as to where one might enter the world of courts organizing. To bridge that divide, YP4 decided to crowd-source a “Little Black Book” of resources for our fellows doing the work of engaging in strategic conversations around the role of courts matter activism in achieving dynamic, lasting progressive change. We gathered best practices, personal testimonies, and researched essays from our Courts Matter Training cohort to assemble the 25-page booklet that can help explain the value of courts organizing to any young person. This collaborative project of our inaugural Courts Matter Initiative has since been distributed at conferences, distributed to coalition partners, and made available for free download online.

As the end of August quickly approaches and back to school commercials grow in quantity we will all begin to hesitantly accept that a new school year is quickly approaching.  College is hard, especially for those of us that spend the majority of our time outside of the classroom fighting for social justice through on campus student organizations, national non-profits, larger movements or self-created programs.

Last year, I was a freshman at Washington University in St. Louis and became heavily involved with organizing actions on campus concerning #blacklivesmatter and placing pressure on the administration to create a better environment for students of color.  Many times I felt overwhelmed due to the time and emotional energy I was investing.  Below are a couple of things I learned through balancing advocacy and the responsibilities of a student:

  1. Take time for yourself. Every week map out an hour of “you time”. No meetings or homework just a time for self-reflection, quite, Netflix or all three.  Providing this space for you to recharge helps to avoid burnout and keeps you at your best, and when we are more capable of helping others and building community.
  2. Whenever possible combine your advocacy with your coursework. Take classes that interest you and reinforce your activism whenever possible. Utilize your experience organizing as a starting block to think about a concept in class in a different way.  For me in a class called, “The Theory and Practice of Justice” my advocacy for black lives brought a whole new light to lectures concerning the history of the vulnerability of black bodies and the injustice of institutions meant to protect them.
  3. Be vocal with your peers concerning commitments and availability. Within student organizations and movements it is important to remember that others are relying on you, and your lateness or lack of follow through does have ramifications.  Tell them about your commitments at the beginning of the year so as a group you can plan ahead of any conflicts.
  4. Remember why you do what you do. Organizing is stressful and tiresome but hold strong in your truth and take time to reflect on the purpose of your actions and the long-term goal.  When times get tough remember your foundation.
  5. Be honest with professors and advisors concerning your involvement. This is especially helpful if the time comes when you need an extension on a paper.  If a teacher is aware of your involvement and activity they are more prone to understand.  Also, if you build relationships with professors that believe in your work in the future their support can help to expand your project.
  6. Be well. Make sure that you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night. This is vital to being a full functioning person.  Eat food that makes you feel good and gives you the energy to tackle busy days.
  7. The Planner is your new best friend. Organize early to get ahead of curveballs and the dreaded all nighter. When you get class syllabuses at the beginning of the semester sit down and place dates in your planner so that you can plan events and meetings knowing your academic commitments helps with time management skills
  8. Prioritize and strategize.  Take a blank piece of paper and draw a line through it.  On the left, write the things you care about, what you love, your values and what makes you happy.  On the right list the organizations, student groups and other activities you are involved in.  Cross lists the information and think critically about commitments that don’t satisfy a passion or value.  Prioritize extracurricular activities that fulfill you as a person.  Cut out things that don’t.
  9. Say NO. You are a human and though you are spectacular in everyway, there is a limit to your time and effort.  A “no” does not mean that you do not care about the issue or event; it just means your care about your sanity a little bit more.
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is a community around you of individuals, whether it is the head of your center for diversity, faculty mentor or friend.  Make sure to reach out to those around you whenever you feel overwhelmed.

By Christina Tudor, Current YP4 Fellow

I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Christina Tudor and I’m the Civic Engagement intern at Young People For (YP4) this summer and current member of the 2015-2016 fellowship class. My main goal for the summer is to start up YP4’s blog team. Blogs are a great platform for writers to connect with one another, share opinions, and elevate important causes. I’ve been blogging for about six months now and it has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things I’ve ever done.

I started college nearly two years ago and decided to major in writing with the idea that I wanted to grow up to “write stuff.” Like most eighteen year olds, I had no idea what I was doing. I started getting involved in many important causes. I advocated for reproductive justice, spoke with legislators about the Women’s Equality Agenda, and held education events on Title IX. I’ll let you in on a little secret, while I was doing all these things, I tried to start a blog. But I was too afraid to put my thoughts online. Then, a friend who worked my college’s newspaper asked me to write for their blog. She said she noticed all the work I did on campus and asked me to blog about activism.

I said yes and my first blog post was up the next day.

Being asked to blog for someone else was just the push needed to start writing and posting about important social issues and activism. Many opportunities have emerged out of my original decision to start blogging. I now have direction in my writing; I now have a voice in the movements I really care about. I am so incredibly excited to launch this Blog Team and maybe give others the same push that I needed to start blogging.

Some Quick Benefits of Blogging:

  • It’s a Great Creative Outlet

Even if you were never one who kept a journal or write your thoughts down, writing about events in your life, projects you’re working on, and social justice causes is a great outlet to process how you feel and spread the word about something you care about. As an activist, it is also a great method of self-care to process through the movement you’re working in and educate others.

  • Public Support and Personal Connections

The reactions that friends, family, and others have to something you write may surprise you. Although you should write for yourself and not just so people will see it, it is very rewarding when someone approaches you to say they relate to what you wrote, or that they never thought about something before.

  • Visibility Brings Opportunities

Being able to have published writing samples online will help you a great deal professionally. In fact, the whole reason why I have this internship is because a journalism professor suggested it to me after he found my blog. When your work is visible, people might reach out to you about it and it is a great way to showcase your writing capabilities, who you are as a person, and what you care about.

  • Uplifting Issues and Engaging in Important Conversations

As I mentioned, I was worked on a ton of social justice related projects before I started blogging and one of the best parts about blogging is that it gave me a space to share my thoughts and uplift important issues. Many important causes are (unfortunately) not always discussed in mainstream places like the classroom or workplace. A blog is a space that’s yours and you should use it write honestly and engage in necessary conversations that aren’t had in other places.

  • Self-Improvement

It may sound cheesy, but blogging is an opportunity for personal development on many levels. I came to blogging with a strong writing abilities but that is not a necessity. If I were to scroll back through all my old posts, I notice that they get progressively better and I’m more comfortable with each post. Throughout this yearlong project, you will grow as a writer as well as become more confident tackling tough topics and sharing your activism with others.

If you think you’re passionate and that you have some important insights to share with the world, fill out the blog team application here. Even if you’re scared or unsure of yourself, apply. It just might pay off.

All the best,

Christina

Civic Engagement Intern-Young People For (YP4)

ctudor@pfaw.org

64 Blueprints for Social Justice were implemented by the current class of 2014-2015 Fellows (a class of 118 progressive activists from 97 campuses across 37 states), covering a wide range of 13 different issues areas. Projects range from youth mentorship programs, to advocating for university investment in their communities, and fighting for higher education reform. Be sure to read more about the phenomenal work the Fellows are doing in the class yearbook, which will be released at the end of May, and stay tuned for all of the Blueprints to be added to our Blueprint Database in the very near future!

Additionally, applicants for the 2015-2016 Fellowship class have heard about their application status and we now have a new cohort of 2015-2016 Fellows! It was difficult to select 150 candidates from an applicant pool of over 400, and we look forward to working with incoming Fellows to put their ideas into action and advance progressive change.

If you are interested in hearing more about our current and upcoming Fellowship class, please email Fellow Program Manager Andrew Humphrey at ahumphrey@pfaw.org.

For ten years, YP4 has celebrated youth activism and involvement by providing trainings, mentorship, and support for the work of over 1500 young progressives. With our application for the 2015-2016 Fellowship now live, we look forward to another decade of supporting young change makers across the country.

Help us continue to create change by:

Our Fellowship application deadline is February 7th, so please be sure to submit all your materials by then! If you are nominating someone, please do so well in advance of the deadline.

for more information about our Fellowship program, please visit the Fellowship page or contact YP4’s Fellowship Program Manager at ahumphrey@pfaw.org or by phone at 202.467.2341.