Community Commons is excited to feature a faith-based initiative from the Map of the Movement, this week. Youth Empowered Solutions or YES! from Raleigh, North Carolina is a nonprofit organization that empowers youth, in partnership with adults, to create community change.
To fulfill their mission, YES! equips high school students and youth, as well as adult allies, with the tools and resources needed to take a stand and create change that will positively impact adolescent health and the overall health of our communities. YES! also provides training and support to local partners in order to promote a heightened awareness and learn how to identify and take advantage of opportunities to engage in local, national, and international advocacy work. Youth become competent community advocates by completing training programs in areas like public speaking, media literacy, community assessment, working with policymakers, and evaluation.
Additionally, YES! provides support to adults and organizations by offering training and technical assistance – ultimately fostering allies and partners that can, in turn, continue to empower youth and youth issues. YES! provides networking opportunities, encourages partnerships, and assesses organizations’ youth empowerment capacity and the application of the Youth Empowerment Model.
The Youth Empowerment Model is a three-pronged approach that effectively engages young people in work that challenges them to develop skills, gain critical awareness, and participate in opportunities that are necessary for creating community change. The three-pronged approached is as follows:
The process of strengthening the skills of youth so that they know how to effectively make decisions, positively interact with their peers, and act as community advocates.
The process of providing youth with the information and resources necessary for analyzing issues that affect their lives and environments as well as strategize on ways to act as change agents in their communities.
The process of providing youth with platforms for decision-making and encouraging their active participation in creating community change.