By: Kelly Batson
Inspired by the outspoken youth taking up the fight for social justice throughout the country and around the world, United Way Bay Area recently kicked off a Youth Voices micro-grant campaign. Bay Area youth were invited to apply for $50-$5,000 in funds to support their efforts to mobilize around social issues that affect their safety, education, families, and communities. Our goal was to make young people feel valued, respected, and engaged as leaders in our community—in the end, they inspired us more than we could have imagined.
From supporting youth affected by the criminal justice system to developing youth-led policy platforms and more, these young people have sensible solutions to social issues affecting their lives and they deserve to be heard. On behalf of everyone at United Way Bay Area, congratulations to our grantees and best of luck in your ambitious endeavors! We look forward to seeing the great work you do this summer and beyond.
Young Leaders Igniting the Fight for Equity (Y-LIFE)
Applicant: Bay Area Legal Aid
Y-LIFE holds regular meetings and trainings for youth affected by the child welfare or criminal justice system to be advocates in Contra Costa County and integrate youth voices into local decision-making bodies. The funds will be used for stipends and meals for the affected youth.
Focus Group on the Effects of Just Cause Evictions
Applicant: Housing Committee of the Marin County Youth Commission (MCYC)
Marin County Youth Commission will host a focus group of youth and parents to learn about the housing crisis for renters and engage participants with advocacy to the Board of Supervisors. They would like to influence local policy change so youth feel safe and comfortable where they lived. They would like to spend the funds on the focus group, including supplies, space and stipends for the participants.
Solano Youth Voices
Applicant: Children’s Network of Solano County
Solano Youth Voices is developing a youth-led policy platform. They have developed a council, held a kickoff and conducted countywide surveys and youth discussion groups. These funds will support the research and writing phase of the policy platform, including writing and research training, and professional production of the platform.
Marin March for Community Safety and Wellbeing
Applicant: Youth Leadership Institute Marin County
The micro-grant would support a group of Marin County high school students in organizing an event focused on building safety, wellbeing, and community engagement within our town and county. This event would be a march from the city hall of Novato to a park for a community gathering. The funds would be spent on supplies for the event.
#WhatsMyDifference Social Media Campaign
Applicant: Beyond Differences
The #WhatsMyDifferent social media campaign is an existing, youth-led project that encourages students to create short, home-made photos and videos that tell of their personal experiences with social isolation. The funds will be used to train youth leaders on story collection for their summer story collection project.
Enhancing Leadership Skills of Teen Mothers
Applicant: Teen Success
Teen Success will hold a summer retreat for 30 teen mothers with the goal of making them feel empowered to lead change in areas they are passionate about while also cultivating stronger relationships with their children and each other. The funds will be used on retreat activities, supplies and childcare.
Cal Stride News
Applicant: Club Stride
Cal Stride News is a youth-led journalism training program that reports news on campus and holds off-campus advocacy events. The funds will be used to pay for digital marketing costs and a youth mentor stipend.