Community organizing happens when leaders bring together everyone in a community in a role that fosters social change. Engaging youth as community organizers can focus on issues that affect themselves and their communities; they rally their peers, families, and community members for action.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” ― Elie Wiesel
Ways Youth can Change the World as Community Organizers
Youth-Led Activism — Activism for the sake of acting is hollow; activism for the sake of changing the world, building alliances and transforming society is essential to the future of our world. Engaging youth organizers in activism can be essential for moving the hearts and minds of adults, youth and children, and be key to establishing new awareness and action throughout communities.
Youth as Pollsters — Soliciting the opinions, ideas, wisdom and knowledge of communities can be an essential way to sway decision-makers, build public support and transform recalcitrant systems. Young people can lead these processes through polling, focus groups and other research activities.
Youth-Driven Programs — Leading systematic approaches to transforming society can give youth organizers sustainable ways to recruit their peers, built youth/adult partnerships and more. Youth-driven programs can be a logical way to secure resources and tools necessary for success, too.
Things Youth Need to Change the World through Community Organizing
Training — Learning the skills need to activate their communities can propel youth as community organizers towards success. Communication skills, issue framing, organizing techniques and critical thinking are some of the skills that can be trained; addressing power, systems thinking and issues awareness are some knowledge-sharing areas that can be facilitated. Training is a powerful tool for youth community organizers.
Inspiration — Becoming engaged as community organizers may not come easily or readily to youth; however, young people have always been at the forefront of social change, and inspiring youth engagement can happen in many ways. Inspiration can be an essential tool for changing the world.
Social Media — Young people can effectively reach out to their communities, their cities, their regions and the world through social media. They can also build support, engage with critics and opponents, and otherwise rally their peers and adults to engage in issues, actions and outcomes.
- Funders Collaborative for Youth Organizing
- Bringing it Together: Uniting Youth Organizing, Development and Services for Long-term Sustainability by the Movement Strategy Center
- School of Unity and Liberation
Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth engagement in community organizing in your community or organization, contact us.