Youth Force – Public Policy Advocacy
Dorchester Bay’s Youth Force is a youth-led, adult-supported community organizing program that builds young people’s power to effect positive and systemic change in their communities and the world.
Youth Force envisions a more just, equitable, and democratic society where youth voice and leadership are present in all community and civic decision making. DBYF works to ensure that all youth have access to opportunities for healthy development and meaningful engagement.
Youth Force fosters sociopolitical development and youth empowerment. Participants build leadership, advocacy, critical thinking, social-emotional, and employment skills that prepare them for college and career success, economic self-sufficiency, and lifelong community and civic engagement. Youth-led DBYF initiatives also help build strong, thriving, and diverse communities in accordance with Dorchester Bay EDC’s broader mission.
Youth Force programs are rooted in the research and theory of positive youth development, social justice youth development, sociopolitical development, and community organizing. DBYF programs incorporate evidence-based best practices including a focus on physical and emotional safety, relationship building and connection with caring adults, and opportunities for youth contribution.?
Youth Force members learn leadership and community organizing skills such as meeting facilitation, engaging in campaign work, relational meetings, power analysis and research actions. The program goal is to build youth power in Dorchester and beyond and to strengthen the local community by tackling specific, winnable issues.
Youth Community Organizers are youth ages 15 to 18 are hired to work?during either the school-year or summer. Youth are paid in partnership with the City of Boston Department of Youth Engagement & Employment SuccessLink Employment program. Their pay is supplemented by a stipend from Dorchester Bay.
Youth Leadership Institute (YLI)?is a 4-6 weeks peer education program that introduces a broader group of youth ages 13 to 8 to community organizing principles and practices. Youth who have completed at least one school-year or summer training session are hired to develop and teach the YLI curriculum to their peers, with support from adult staff. YLI participants receive a stipend upon completion of the program and are invited to apply to for the next flagship program session.