Leadership development and community organizing go hand in hand.
By grounding leadership in community impact and working for social justice, we have seen young people begin to take their education and development into their own hands, acquiring information on their own and learning new skills, not because they are told to, but because they see this knowledge as crucial to themselves and their community. We have seen youth think towards the future as they develop workplans for themselves and the group; gain research skills and improve their reading as they explore community issues; improve their writing through speeches and articles; gain public speaking and facilitation skills as they run meetings and speak at public hearings; and learn to teach what they have learned to other young people. Furthermore, youth begin to own their community and themselves. Thus, their self-confidence increases, and their concept of what they can do or be expands.
YUCA core youth organizers receive intense leadership development opportunities comprised of political education, critical analysis, and community organizing skills. They spend anywhere between 5-20 hours a week at YUCA.
YUCA also leads workshops in the community -- particularly targeting middle school and continuation schools where the opportunity to learn about East Palo Alto and social justice organizing is most needed. We strive to spread a culture that promotes youth to be civically engaged -- not just through their experience at YUCA, but throughout their lives.