New York, N.Y. (Dec. 20, 2021)—Our Turn is excited to announce its formal partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Atlanta Civic Site to cultivate youth advocates through a new Youth Leadership Council (YLC). Our Turn is working with the YLC to build its organizing structure and amplify its leadership voice through digital and grassroots organizing and storytelling to execute an innovative research project.
With support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, five high-school and college-age youth leaders from Southwest Atlanta have launched the research effort to understand their peers’ educational and career aspirations, as well as barriers to their success. Through an online survey YLC members will promote the research project, hoping to gain insights from 400 Atlanta-based youth and young adults—ages 14-24— on various topics, including their experiences with workforce development programs and their views on entrepreneurship and other career pathways.
The findings will be shared with the Casey Foundation and other city of Atlanta stakeholders. The project provides a springboard for the YLC's ongoing engagement in civic life, including the development of recommendations that youth-serving organizations, policy makers, funders, and other city leaders can use to expand economic opportunities for young people.
"Atlanta's youth of color hold the key to the city's prosperity, and it is essential that their experiences and aspirations are prioritized in policy, storytelling, and programming decisions," says Mohan Sivaloganathan, Chief Executive Officer of Our Turn. "Education, economic, and entrepreneurial opportunities are so uniquely aligned in Atlanta. In partnership with the Youth Leadership Council and the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Atlanta Civic Site, we will ensure youth not only have a seat at the table of the city's success, but can create their own tables and define their futures for themselves."
With the support of Our Turn and YLC project partner, Creative Research Services, the Youth Leadership Council plans to launch the online survey in January 2022. The YLC consists of five committee members who were selected as a governing body based on their interest in community service, diversity of experiences and willingness to commit to an intensive months-long process. By participating, they will gain valuable research, advocacy, creative, organizing and consulting experiences to help prepare them for future success. The full YLC will expand to include survey respondents and other youth engaged in the research process.
"We're here to offer our support and also to learn," says Rubye Sullivan, Senior Associate of Education at the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Atlanta Civic Site. "Through the YLC we have a tremendous opportunity to be a part of transformational change for the youth of Atlanta.”
The Youth Leadership Council is an important part of Our Turn's mission and national strategy, focusing on equipping youth as activists to advance education justice and on growing its network of youth advocates in Atlanta and throughout the south.
"Atlanta is on the front lines of the major cultural, political, and economic shifts happening in our country," says Ta'Meria Dennard, a recent graduate of Clark Atlanta University and Program Fellow for Our Turn who works on the YLC project. "To help youth not only navigate, but shape and lead these shifts is how we continue to create a national movement that truly changes things."
About Our Turn:
Our Turn, a 501(c)(3), elevates the voices of young people in the fight for educational equity. Our Turn Action Network, a 501(c)(4), deploys policy advocacy efforts for the achievement of educational justice.
Tiffany Patterson, Communications Director