For the September RPE Spotlight, Maggie Ball (she/her) and Alondra Hernandez (she/her/ella) from YWCA – Silicon Valley/Golden Gate presented on their policy change curriculum for youth. In this 50-minute recording, Alondra and Maggie provided a walkthrough of their in-house youth policy training curriculum describing the modules, lessons and activities. They also plugged some resources that helped guide their process, including the book Change! A student Guide for Social Action . Additionally, they facilitated a sample activity as a demonstration that preventionists can utilize with their own youth leadership groups and addressed barriers and challenges of building youth capacity in policy change work. Lastly, Maggie and Alondra shared the successes and challenges of engaging youth in policy work, from their experiences.
Maggie started off by sharing…
“I also want to talk about why we did this. The way that we see it, there are two ways to go about policy change. The first is to, as adults in this space, do the research, read the policy, identify things we think are wrong with the policy, talk to the staff, and get it changed…Or there’s a secondary option, where it can be youth led. We already had this leadership team cultivated through the RPE program that’s been educated on gender-based violence issues, and other things, when it comes to inequalities. And we wanted to give them a chance to use their voice, learn about policy, and then use them and their needs as the lead for what we wanted to do as far as our policy change.”
Early in the curriculum process, the RPE team brought in a guest speaker from Alliance for Girls about their youth-led #notonemoregirl campaign, to inspire their youth to change policy.
“For our students, they were really excited and they kept asking us how else they could get involved – with that specific campaign, but also how we could do something similar. So that’s when I feel like things shifted for us and our students began to realize ‘okay, people are doing this so we’re not the only people doing it, we’re not alone, and it is something that we can achieve.’ And that was really helpful to help us navigate the quiet spaces or the uncertainty in our youth.”
See the whiteboard image below from YWCA’s RPE Spotlight Activity: What is Leadership to You?