The mission of Changeist is to build a community of diverse young people that utilize their personal agency to create a more just society.
Changeist convenes on Saturdays between January and July. Big Citizens, ages 11-26, form diverse teams, serve a minimum of 100 hours, and complete team-based projects.
Middle school-aged Big Citizens work through issues in monthly modules that incorporate interactive learning, active service projects, and individual and team reflection. During the final months of the program, our middle school teams work together to explore a topic of their choosing, developing service projects to address their issue.
High school-aged Big Citizens are placed on teams that explore one issue in great depth throughout the year. During the final six weeks of the high school program, teams partner with local community organizations to complete capacity building projects. These externships provide more experiential, in-depth learning opportunities for our older youth, while providing nonprofit partners with the resources needed to take on an additional project of need.
College-aged Big Citizens lead teams of middle school and high school youth, supporting the building of an effective team and program-wide culture, while gaining professional skills in youth development.
In January 2015, Changeist launched with 75 middle school participants and 13 team leaders. In 2016 we increased our impact by growing our middle school program and launching our high school program. We now engage more than 200 young people, ages 11-26, annually.
What is Social Capital?
Definition: The networks of social connection that exist between people, and their shared values and norms of behavior, which enable and encourage advantageous and mutual social cooperation. The more connections one makes, the more likelihood of success one may have.
Our Culture: Curiosity, Gratitude, Team, Adventure
Our culture has been developed using research-based approaches and insights from individuals with over 90 years of combined experience in youth development work. All activities are created through the lenses of these four pillars:
- Curiosity is an eagerness for knowledge; a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning. When we are curious we take an active interest in learning, opening our minds to information that challenges our own initial assumptions.
- Gratitude refers to appreciation for the benefits we receive from others and the desire to reciprocate with our own positive actions. When we display gratitude we recognize what others do for us, we show appreciation for opportunities, and we express appreciation through words or acts of kindness.
- Team emphasizes the importance of bringing together diverse people, experiences, and perspectives for deeper learning and outcomes. Teamwork requires each individual to exercise discipline. When we each bring our individual assets to a team and work collaboratively and cooperatively, we have the power to create greater impact.
- Adventure is the action taken when curiosity is piqued. When we have an adventure we are bold and brave, taking a risk on the unknown. An adventure may allow us to explore unfamiliar ideas, enter new neighborhoods, learn about community issues and organizations, and become friends with people who are different than ourselves.