What do we do?
Changeist brings together young people, outside of school and across neighborhoods to learn a common civic language, engage in dialogue, and build community to investigate local and global challenges ranging from poverty to environmental issues.
Over the course of 22 Saturdays between January and July, we focus on increasing youths civic knowledge and personal agency. We:
- Place youth on diverse teams, utilizing a near-peer mentor structure
- Address concerns of cultural competency by exposing youth to different groups, perspectives, cultures, and ideas that they may not otherwise have access to
- Give youth the space to learn and practice civic leadership skills, such as public speaking, mobilization, information literacy, social media usage, conflict resolution, and team leadership
- Provide the resources to explore, serve, and reflect on social justice issues
- Provide a place to implement local solutions to local problems, so that youth can immediately see how their actions can have a positive impact on the community, setting the stage for future action
- Complete youth-led service projects
- Partner with community-based organizations to learn from and volunteer with agencies, witnessing issues first-hand
By engaging young leaders with each other, with CA’s critical issues, and with local agencies working toward solutions, Changeist is building pathways for social change-making.
Diversity is a key component of our program, reflecting the makeup of the city. Our 2018 group of Big Citizens hail from more than 60 different zip codes in L.A. County.
What makes this age-range so unique? The National Institutes of Health found that between the ages of 12 and 25, people are literally wired for excitement, novelty, risk, and peer authority. These traits make young people uniquely suited to solve problems, if given the opportunity. Excitement and novelty leads to learning new things and creating new solutions. Risk leads to trying things adults might not. Peer authority leads to changing behaviors; kids listen to other kids more than adults.
Changeist harnesses these youth assets and positive peer networks through dialogue, community immersion, diversity, and teamwork, while activating youth to address the critical issues dividing our cities – ultimately contributing to a more just, open, and connected society.