When I was Sixteen….

When I was sixteen, I was put on punishment for a whole year for attempting to drive somewhere in my dad’s car.  The thing was, I didn’t have a license and, truth be told, I didn’t really know how to drive.  Looking back, there are many things I just knew and hindsight gives me the insight that I really had no clue about much.  Now, sixteen years into the work of protecting education as a human right, Youth Together has a lot of knowledge to claim.

We know that positive change at the school site level requires all stakeholders to be in positive relationship with one another.  Our One Land, One People (OLOP) Collaboratives and Youth Centers are one of many places where adults and students work together to shift school climate and ensure the provision of the services that students need to succeed.  This year, our One Land, One People Youth Centers logged over 16, 834 units of service.  This means that over 130 students accessed OLOP services and programs each day.  We also began expansion of OLOP, working with the community at Richmond High School to grow an OLOP collaborative and youth center in West Contra Costa County.

We know that carving space for youth to empower them with the knowledge and skills needed to transform the local school system is a critical component to winning education reform, a step that take us closer to education justice.  This year, 120 student leaders and their peers worked harder than ever to win changes to the way that California allocates money for public education.  As a result of their hard work, we are closer than ever to a funding formula for education that aims for equity.

We know that tending to the academic and social/emotional needs of our young leaders is part of the investment that ensures future generations of freedom fighters.  This year, through our academic support programs each of our students has academic achievement goals and a student success plan.  We also scaled up our gender-based mentorship efforts, creating gender circles at each of our school sites.

Youth Together believes that a quality education is a human right, not a privilege, and it’s the best investment we can make in our communities.  Every day we challenge students across the races to be a part of changing their schools, in order to transform our communities into safe and thriving places we can be proud of.  Sixteen has been a great year for Youth Together.  Our staff is strong, our students know their power, and we are looking forward to even deeper transformation of ourselves,  our schools and our communities

Towards Peace, Unity and Justice,

Akua Jackson, Executive Director


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