YOUTH SPEAKERS INSTITUTE
The Youth Speakers Institute (YSI) is a 10-week public speaking training program designed uniquely for system impacted youth. YSI is joint project of the Correctional Association of New York, Youth Represent, and Center for Community Alternatives. While several New York City organizations work with and train system-involved youth, there are currently no structured programs to train and connect young people to opportunities to participate in advocacy and public education on youth justice reform. By training youth to speak on these issues, YSI is filling the gap, and providing diverse opportunities for these young people to communicate their perspectives on youth justice reform issues to the public, policymakers, and the media. The training institute is committed to expanding young people’s public speaking skills, building confidence, and their sense of community.
The Correctional Association of New York, Youth Represent, and the Center for Community Alternatives all work with young people who are or have been involved in the child welfare and/or youth justice systems. Advocacy to reform New York’s youth justice system has revealed a clear need to engage system involved youth as active spokespeople in this work. System-involved youth make powerful advocates. Their stories play a key role in educating legislators and the public by countering stereotypes and misperceptions, and by putting a human face on policy issues that can otherwise seem distant and abstract.
Over a duration of 10 weeks, youth will engage in hands-on training sessions focused on presentation and public speaking skills (e.g., telling one’s story, constructing a speech, body language, communicating with the media) and providing background on youth justice and policy advocacy. YSI will provide a broad range of opportunities for young people to speak at community meetings, participate in debates about youth justice reform, and meet with key policy makers to share their perspective.
YSI welcomes young people from New York City, ages 15 to 23, who have been directly impacted by the youth or criminal justice system. We train youth to be spokespeople of social change in the justice system and the education system.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: MONDAY, AUGUST 22.