Leadership Development

Build your skill set. Build your network. Build your confidence.

Upcoming Deadline

Rising Changemaker Program applications are open!

Apply Now

Rising Changemaker Program

October - May • Virtual

Welcome to the Rising Changemaker Program (RCP), where passion meets purpose, and young activists are empowered to elevate their impact for education justice. If you're a current student ready to take your activism to the next level, you've found your community. Throughout the school year, RCP offers a transformative experience through Our Turn's leadership development programming and engaging community action events. Eligible participants who complete the RCP will be awarded a certificate of completion during Our Turn’s end of year celebration in May. Students interested can sign up here!

Who can apply for the RCP?

High school and college-aged youth based in the US are eligible for the program.

What are the program requirements?

  1. Attend FOUR organizing skill builders / political education sessions
    • Two training sessions may be completed through accessing pre-recorded content via Our Turn’s Virtual Learning Hub.
    • Two training sessions must be completed through attending our monthly training sessions. Click here to view upcoming training and action opportunities.
  2. Complete ONE community action
    • Community actions vary on a monthly basis and what they encompass; community actions can range from submitting a student blog, delivering public comment in support of the student agenda at a school board meeting, or attending an action event.

What can I expect from the RCP?

  • Develop skills that will fuel your academic and professional journey, focusing on leadership, problem solving, driving impact, and collaboration.
  • Access to quarterly professional development sessions designed specifically for students (ex. public speaking 101, time management, resume and cover letters).
  • Access to the Our Turn Alumni Network through events, networking, and mentoring, which includes leaders across advocacy, politics, health, law, and more. Community connections to OT Student Leaders and Allies.
  • Access to virtual learning hub (courses include: Organizing & Recruitment 101; Unpacking the School to Prison Pipeline; and How to Lead A Great Team Meeting).
  • Opportunities to elevate your leadership through partner connections and rapid response actions to major national and local events.

Ready to Rise?

If you're a student with a passion for change and a drive to make a difference, the Rising Changemaker Program is your platform. Sign up now and embark on a journey of growth, learning, and impactful activism. Let's rise together, create change, and be the leaders our communities need.

Sign Up Today

“I knew I wanted to make my voice heard but didn’t feel like I had the tools or ability to do it. Our Turn gave me an affirming space to explore my thoughts and how I want to express them, as well as an audience to share them with.”
Rayne, FL

“If students remain engaged at every level of discussion – from the US Department of Education to school boards in individual districts – we can create solutions that are specific to the needs of every community.”
Salma Perez, CA

“Before coming to Our Turn, I understood the basics of making change... but after working with Our Turn for a year, I have learned the mechanics of making systems change, from writing concept papers to talking to funders, to speaking at conferences. I am very thankful for my time here.”
Addie, VT

Youth Power Fellowship

Year-long • Virtual (with In-Person Opportunities)

Our flagship leadership development program will support you in growing your organizing skills, deepening your political knowledge and expanding your impact as a leader in your community as well as in the nonprofit advocacy space.

Who can apply?

The Youth Power Fellowship is open to U.S.-based youth and students, ages 16-25.

What are the dates of the fellowship?

This fellowship occurs during the traditional school year, from September-May.

Where does the fellowship take place?

Most of the Youth Power Fellowship programming is conducted virtually. That said, every fellow will engage in a number of in-person activities and events.

Fellows who live in Our Turn locations attend in-person events and activities with local coalition partners. Fellows in other locations also have the opportunity to join in-person activities, such as conferences or partner events.

What will I learn?

We cover a wide range of important concepts for effective change-making. Our trainings create opportunities for real world application and peer-to-peer learning from diverse perspectives and experiences, incorporating intentional individualized coaching and mentorship.

Content includes:

  • Political Education
    Examples: History of public education, combating misinformation, confronting ageism & adultism, unpacking White supremacy and Capitalism’s impact in our education system, understanding systemic oppression, the myth of meritocracy.
  • Fundamentals of Organizing
    Examples: Peer to peer recruitment and mobilization, story of self, coalition-building practices, campaign strategy, direct action, media and messaging
  • Nonprofits and Professional Development
    Examples: Resume workshop, career panels, alumni coffee chats, fundraising & budgeting, public speaking

How much time does the fellowship take every week?

Fellows spend on average 5-10 hours per week on a variety of activities, including online training, group work with their team, one-on-one meetings with their manager, individual assignments, and Our Turn’s staff covenings and culture/wellness offerings.

Do Fellows receive a stipend?

At Our Turn, Fellows aren’t just participants, they are part of our team. During your fellowship, you will join us as a paid, part-time staff member who is eligible for benefits such as stipends for professional development and setting up your home office.

When can I apply?

Applications are now open for the 2023-2024 Youth Power fellowship! You can view the overview & apply here.

“While I've definitely faced obstacles in my role, I have felt incredibly supported by the enhanced cohort trainings and dedicated development plans within our coalitions to become a better organizer these past two semesters.

“I'm really proud of my individual work, but more so of the accomplishments of our awesome coalition of student organizers in North Carolina.”

“I have gained deeper insight on how to be an advocate and how to make change.

“Especially through cohort training and being able to network with other fellows and amazing staff, I have learned so much about organizing and education justice.”

Cadre Leadership Institute

Summer • Virtual

The Cadre Leadership Institute is our summer boot camp for youth in select regions to build organizing skills and political knowledge and apply it to issues that matter to them in their own communities.

Who can apply?

The Cadre Leadership Institute is open to rising high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in select school districts or cities. Locations for each year’s institute are announced when applications open in the spring. Sign up below to be notified!

What are the dates of the institute?

The fellowship lasts 6 weeks during the summer. Start and end dates vary from June to August each year.

Where does the institute take place?

The Cadre Leadership Institute is held virtually, and it includes in-person learning and action opportunities, such as delivering public comment at your local school board meeting, or engaging in local community events.

What will I learn?

Similar to our year-round Youth Power Fellowship, the Cadre Leadership Institute covers the fundamentals of politics and organizing, using a small cohort model with experiential training. Fellows also gain valuable experience by designing and implementing an education advocacy project centered on elevating student voice and power.

What is the time commitment?

Throughout the summer, Cadre Fellows spend an average of 5 hours per week on their online training, group work within the cohort, individual assignments, and other tasks.

Do Cadre Fellows receive a stipend?

Cadre Fellows are compensated for their time, energy, work, and expertise. Each fellow receives a $500 stipend upon completing the requirements of the program.

When can I apply?

The fellowship application opens in the spring. Sign up now to be notified when it comes online!

“It’s rare to even see a school district that asks for students’ feedback. That’s why establishing a solid platform for students’ voices is extremely crucial. I personally wasn’t allowed or even encouraged to voice my opinions in the classroom because it was viewed as a disrespectful thing and frowned upon, which ultimately led me to feel unrepresented in the class. It was honestly very hard to even have a voice for myself overall.

“This is why I believe we need to do better as a nation to advocate and platform student voices so that every student feels represented.”

Liza, Houston ISD Class of 2024

Start Your Own Cadre

If you have three or more students ready to take action in your community, we can help you get started!

With the training resources we have available for our fellowships, we are able to give your cadre access to knowledge about the fundamentals of organizing and help you navigate the structures of power and politics in your community.

Want to learn more? Get in touch!