By: Amy Meuers, NYLC CEO
At the National Youth Leadership Council, we develop young people to be civically informed and engaged global citizens who strive to create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. We believe in the power of youth and adults working together, in partnership, to tap into the passion, creativity, and ingenuity of all young people to make meaningful change happen.
In 2019, we have seen young people making powerful, lasting change around the world. Just two weeks ago, 16 year-old Greta Thunberg was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for her unwavering commitment to move world leaders to address climate change. Greta has inspired millions of people – both young and young at heart – from across the globe to lend their voices in protest against the lack of action on climate change.
2020 National Service-Learning Conference keynote speaker, Ekansh Tambe, is a high school sophomore in Texas educating people on the issue of immigration. Through his amazing photography, he chronicles the fence, the culture, and the people along most of the 1,900 miles of the US-Mexican land border. The project educates through the stories of the border security, the residents, immigrants, and federal agents.
Also this month, NYLC’s very own Youth Advisory Council member Carmen Lopez Villamil was quoted on the front page of the New York Times for her activism for school integration. Carmen attends Beacon High School in New York where she leads a Youth4Education club and helped to organize a strike against the school’s admittance practices. These young voices, along with the millions of others who stood with them, are making meaningful change happen.
Youth4Education is a youth-led movement to advance education equity through service-learning by creating safe spaces for vulnerable discussions, turning discussion into action, creating positive youth-adult, and improving school climate. Through Youth4Ed, NYLC reached more than 1,600 students directly in 2019.
We also had the opportunity to extend our impact this year in the Afterschool Service-Learning initiative through a generous grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. NYLC supports the advancement of service-learning with seven state networks including:
- Michigan Afterschool Partnership
- New Jersey School-Age Care Coalition
- Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network
- Tennessee Afterschool Network
- Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network
- Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership
These partnerships have ensured that thousands of students are exposed to service-learning and the multitude of benefits that it brings including academic, 21st Century, leadership, and social emotional skills because they are physically out in the community, making real change happen. It demonstrates that afterschool programs are developing the next generation of engaged and informed citizens who are ready to address community needs.
In addition to our work in afterschool settings, NYLC’s teen driver safety program Project Ignition engaged more than 2,087 students indirectly impacting more than 700,000 people across twenty sites. These teams of students and their adult allies addressed teen-driver safety issues and empowered youth to lead campaigns that make measurable differences in their schools, their communities, and beyond. NYLC is honored to partner with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to continue this vital work in 2020; saving even more lives through service-learning.
Whether advancing service-learning through our annual National Service-Learning Conference; delivering uniquely tailored trainings; creating tool-kits, handbooks, and resources; administering the Service-Learning Network; or by growing programs; NYLC worked alongside our partners and funders to engage more than 300,000 people to create meaningful, lasting change in communities across the globe in 2019. We are excited to see where 2020 takes us as we work with you to “Serve. Learn. Change the world.”!
Support the work of NYLC. Learn more at www.nylc.org.