Former Youth Act campaigners: Where are they now?
To date over 20 groups of young people have helped transform their local communities all around the UK through Youth Act projects. Youth Act, one of the Citizenship Foundation's award winning projects, is a national programme designed to develop active political literacy and the democratic participation of young people likely to experience exclusion.The programme supports groups of young people, working with adults, who want to achieve political or social change in their school, youth club or community. It offers weekly and residential training in the skills of problem solving, team building and cooperation, influencing decision makers, communication, fundraising and campaigning. Groups choose their own issues such as gun crime, mobile phone theft, teen pregnancy, anti-social behaviour, bullying, improving their housing estates, improving relations between young people and the police and lack of youth provision.
Many of the young people involved in past projects have taken the skills they developed and continued to campaign for change on a variety of issues affecting young people and their communities.
Zac Chowdhury , 17, a Youth Act graduate and founding member of the Anti-Bullying Massif project at the Central Foundation School is now a Young Management Group Director of I-Power-I, a non-profit organisation that finds ways to promote peace, tackle violence, resolve conflict and bullying, and helps with the empowerment of young people.
In November 2006, Zac organised and spoke at the National Anti-Bullying Conference for Young People in Weston-Super-Mare. The conference included youth presentations, songs, poetry, workshops, awards, programmes and a variety of creative practice in dealing with issues of bullying. In addition delegates were able to hear from anti-bullying experts, researchers and practitioners speaking about their work.
In November, Zac also visited number 10 Downing Street to hand a 12 metre long petition to Tony Blair on Bullying. Signed by hundreds of young people, the petition called for change in teacher training so teachers are better equipped to deal with bullying.
Brandon Palmer, 20, is formally of the Visionnaires Youth Forum in Brixton who campaigned to raise awareness about teenage pregnancy, particularly how it affects young men. He has since been involved with Lambeth Youth Council and become part of the Camelot 4Front Awards young peoples design team.
Brandon recently won a Big Boost Award (£5,000) to develop his new project, Urban Understanding. Urban Understanding aims to challenge the negative image of young people by training his peers in various performing arts skills. Speaking about Youth Act, Brandon said "Youth Act has been a great experience that changes you for the better. When you do something for a friend it's a favour when you do something for the community it's life changing."
London Youth Act:
The Citizenship Foundation is currently planning for the next round of London Youth Act, in Hammersmith/Fulham, Brent and Lewisham/Greenwich.
National Youth Act:
A Youth Act train the trainer package is now available nationwide for groups of 10 adults in the same area. Recent training has taken place in Coventry and Derbyshire.
If you are interested in running a Youth Act group, in becoming a local Youth Act trainer, or would just like more information about the project, please contact Carrie Supple, on 0207 566 4153 or be email (details below).
Youth Act! is based on the internationally successful Youth Act which is a US Program of Street Law, Inc. Youth Act is a trade mark of Street Law, Inc.