Examples of some of the top government entities that are working in the area of youth-led advocacy have been provided. Details regarding these organizations have been provided below.
- The USAID through its “Youth Excel” initiative is funding local youth-led organizations and youth servicing organizations so that they can implement their initiatives in education, health, employment and governance.
- USAID was included in this list because of its reputation as a recognized international development agency.
- The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) by the US Department of Education is aimed at increasing the number of low-income students succeeding in postsecondary education. The program offers grants to partnerships and states to provide services at high schools in poverty-stricken areas.
- GEAR UP hosts an annual Youth Leadership Summit, which is characterized by student-led presentations. The event helps students identify and take advantage of their leadership skills.
- GEAR UP was selected in the list because its reputation as an initiative of the US Department of Education and its current activities. The organization aims to serve up to 70,000 students.
- YouthBuild gives at-risk youth between 16 and 24 years the opportunity to better their lives by earning their high school diploma and preparing them for college and post-secondary training programs.
- With youth leaders at the forefront, the organization advocates for higher federal appropriations for the youth.
- YouthBuild was included in the list because of its current activity in supporting low-income youth without education access and sharing occupational skills in in-demand industries.
Employment and Training Administration
- The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) supports the enrollment of youth apprentices between 16 and 24 years old into existing Registered Apprenticeship Programs.
- ETA was selected in this list because it of the amount of investment in the space. In 2020, the agency set aside $42.5 million to support between 15 and 20 Youth Apprenticeship Readiness grants that range from $1 million to $5 million.
The ECPACT USA
- ECPAT USA is a social services organization focused on “empowering youth to take the lead in anti-human trafficking efforts with our Youth Against Child Trafficking (Y-ACT) program. We are involving our primary stakeholders, America’s children, in advocating against sexual exploitation and trafficking.”
- The organization “trains students to be the foremost advocates in their communities, educating them on the facts, misconceptions, and risks of trafficking”.
- The organization has been selected because of its reputation as one of the most active organizations in support of youth-led advocacy around education and against trafficking and exploitation.
The American Youth Policy Forum
- The AYPF is committed to informing youth policy and improving youth outcomes by providing learning opportunities to the youth and others researched on matters of education and other policy issues.
- One of the entity’s focus areas is ‘youth leadership and voice’ “which refers to knowledge, opinions, and access to the platforms that are necessary for youth to exercise their right to speak out around issues and policies that directly or indirectly affect them, such as education”
- The organization has been included because it appears across multiple sources as one of the most active government entities focused on empowering youth to be their own advocates around major policy issues such as education.
The United States Child Poverty Action Group
- The US CPAP is focused on eliminating poverty among children in the US. One of the ways propagated by the organization to do so is to ensure every child is guaranteed access to education.
- The organization supports the voice of children and youth (on issues education and others) as a critical part of creating positive change. The US CPAP has partnered with the Save the Children Action Network which seeks to offer a political voice for kids’. The organization aims at investing in children and holding leaders accountable for matters affecting kids.
- The organization has been included among the top as it was formed nationally with the involvement of key national leaders. The initiative has since given birth to additional 20 national organizations focused on the rights of children and the youth.
Examples of top nonprofit entities working in the area of youth-led advocacy around education topics are Children’s Defense Fund, the ASPIRA Association, the Center for Education Reform, and Education Reimagined. Detailed information on each of the nonprofits is below.
Children Defense Fund
- The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is a nonprofit child advocacy organization that has worked tirelessly for over 40 years to champion a level playing field for all children, including their access to quality education.
- CDF’s mission is to foster environments that support and empower children and young adults to excel and believe in their ability to make a difference in themselves and in society, with hope, education, and action.
- CDF advocates for the “elimination of discriminatory education practices and policies, and the unequal distribution of resources that undermine equal educational opportunities for all students.” CDF offers the CDF Freedom Schools program that provides after-school and summer enrichment to support K-12 scholars to access high quality academic and character-building resources.
The ASPIRA Association
- The ASPIRA Association is a national Hispanic organization working since 1961 to exclusively develop Hispanic youth’s educational capacity.
- The ASPIRA Association provides programs to encourage Hispanic students to stay in school and prepare them to succeed in the educational arena. ASPIRA statewide organizations offer various educational enrichment and advance youth’s educational achievement. ASPIRA currently has over 450,000 alumni.
- The ASPIRA Process “teaches young people to become aware of their own situation and that of their community, to analyze the root causes of barriers to their success, and to take action for positive changes in their personal lives and the life of their community.”
Center for Education Reform
- The Center for Education Reform aims to “give learners at all levels the opportunity to shape their education.” The organization does this by generating publicity through media outreach and connecting innovators with investors and schools to quicken their impact.
- The organization’s mission is to expand educational opportunities to improve the economic outcomes for Americans, especially the youth.
- Education-Reimagined advocates for a learner-centered future for education. The organization champions the transformation of the current inadequate and unequal to one that includes, serves, and values every child.
- Education-Reimagined operates the Learning Lab to mobilize practitioners to exemplify that learner-centered education is crucial in addressing the US’s most pressing educational challenges today. The organization also operates the SparkHouse to “unite and ignite young learners to be powerful ambassadors for and leaders of the national learner-centered movement.”
My Brother’s Keepers Alliance
- “MBK Alliance focuses on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color”–to close the education gap–“where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity.”
- Jared Brown, who “manages a network of youth leaders and local leaders” for MBK in 250 jurisdictions, featured in the Forbes “list of the 30 most influential people in education under the age of 30.”
- Student Voice is “a nationwide student-led nonprofit organization that works to equip students to advocate for solutions to educational inequity.”
- Merrit Jones, Board President of the Student Voice, featured in the Forbes “list of the 30 most influential people in education under the age of 30.”
- Mikva Challenge runs youth-led advocacy programs that “help young people develop civic knowledge and leadership skills” and influence policy decisions (for example, The Chicago School Board).
- “Over 100,000 students have participated in” Mikva Challenge programs. Mikva Challenge has more followers on Facebook than Student Voice.
- “UrbEd is a non-profit based in Philadelphia that advocates for fully-funded, safe, and healthy public schools in order to provide students with an equitable and quality education they deserve. The organization seeks to “build a student movement that works together to reform urban education.”
- UrbEd features in Planbook’s “15 Inspiring Nonprofits and Student Advocacy Groups. Student Representatives on the UrbEd board serve over 200,000 students.”
Top For-profit entities working in the area of youth-led advocacy around education topics are Aurora Institute, Evergreen Education Group , American Enterprise Institute, and Highlander Institute. Comprehensive details of the organizations are below.
- Aurora Institute is a For-profit advocacy organization that advocates for the nascent field of K-12 next-generation, competency-based education and personalized learning across the United States.
- The organization’s effort explores the essentials for “transformational change in K-12 systems, promotes best practices, identifies policy barriers, and makes recommendations for change.”
- They strive to accomplish a strong, future-focused idea of education through field-building and knowledge creation, state and federal policy advocacy, and connecting and meeting.
- The mission of the Aurora Institute is to encourage the change of education policies and advance the progress of breakthrough procedures to guarantee high-quality learning for youth.
Evergreen Education Group
- Evergreen Education group is a For-profit advocacy organization that works as a leader in K–12 digital learning research and advisory services in the United States.
- The organization creates the “Digital Learning Annual Conference, which explores the real promise of online, blended, and digital learning.”
- The company currently provides consulting and advisory services to schools, districts, state agencies, companies, and foundations.
American Enterprise Institute
- The American Enterprise Institute is a public For-profit advocacy organization dedicated to connecting top college students across the country with the ideas, research, and network of AEI.
- AEI has a Weekend Honors Program that brings together 16–20 students from different schools, academic backgrounds, and perspectives for an immersive series of discussions about a present public policy issue.
- The AEI Executive Council Program allows current undergraduates to engage with AEI’s scholarship, and to grow the quality and variety of public policy dialogue on their faculties.
- AEI’s “education policy scholars are exploring ways to strengthen America’s educational system as a vehicle for upward mobility, examining issues affecting early childhood, K–12, and higher education. “
- Highlander Institute is a For-profit advocacy organization that partners with communities to envision and build more impartial, consistent, and efficient schools. The organization uses research to “convene, coach, and build capacity to improve outcomes and experiences for all students.”
- Highlander Institute service is directed towards providing tailored, unique, embedded supports at the classroom, school, and district levels. “Highlander Institute specializes in blended and personalized learning models that are focused on creating equity through education.”
- The Institute builds and implements tools that allow communities to diagnose obstacles and design solutions from a student-centered perspective. They also build strategies that strengthen local teachers to customize institute education and experience, “mobilizing home-grown teams of personalized learning specialists.”
- They engage with schools and school divisions across the state and region to render high-quality learning consulting services. Their services vary from “strategic planning to network design and technical support to embedded professional development and coaching.”