Reminder: ACTS Youth Council Accepting Applications
When: Meeting on April 20th, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Temple Concord, Frensdorf Room (subject to change)
Applications due: Before the meeting on the 20th of April
Address: 910 Madison St, Syracuse, NY 13210
The ACTS Youth Council has opened its doors for new members. All students from the ages of 14-18 are encouraged to apply, with members being accepted before the Youth Council’s upcoming meetings. On April 20th at 6 p.m., the Youth Council will hold meetings to organize their next major projects. These projects include their campaign to improve school nutrition and student health, and their commitment to assist the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops arriving to Syracuse through ACTS. We urge ACTS members to inform motivated youth of this opportunity.
Our dedication to youth engagement resulted in the formation of the ACTS Youth Council in 2015, a group of Syracuse students who “think globally and act locally.” The majority of the students in the Youth Council are refugees, or the children of refugees. Together, they received training in 2015 from several volunteers at a seminar just prior to the group’s official formation. The training featured guests such as Yusuf Abdul-Qadir, from the New York Civil Liberties Union, and Andrew Maxwell, then an adviser to Mayor Stephanie Miner. Deynaba Farah, a university student and current advisor to the Youth Council, and was thrilled back in 2015 to see the youth exhibit enthusiasm in learning about activism. Today, she is even more thrilled to see the Youth Council act as positive examples to other youth on the stage of social justice work.
As a youth leadership development organization, one of the Youth Council’s greatest priorities is to “build the youth’s individual competencies in leadership and advocacy by focusing on three aspects of grassroots development.” These three aspects are youth development, youth leadership, and civic engagement, all of which will find practice with the council’s new projects.
When the ACTS Youth Council decided to select their own projects, they knew extensive research would be required. In the face of all this
work they became not intimidated, but excited. They drafted a survey to pass out to their fellow students so they could understand the problems faced by their peers. Over 230 students from Nottingham, Henniger, Corcoran, and ITC took the survey, which consisted of 9 questions gauging their awareness of issues in Syracuse. Regardless of their answers, the participants tended to agree that the Youth Council was an inspiring idea.
“It would be great to have more youth involvement and try to break down city-wide segregations,” one classmate said to Dahabo, the internal PR Manager of the Youth Council.
The survey gave the Youth Council three main topics to work with: violence, food, and education. “Violence” transformed into the Youth Council’s current participation with the AVP project, which is planned to arrive to Syracuse through ACTS. Not only do they plan to volunteer their time to help support the program, but they themselves also plan to undergo AVP training to better address the strife in their community.
“Education” became the Youth Council’s commitment to the “Syracuse People’s March for Education Justice” on March 4th. Despite freezing temperatures, all members of the Youth Council grabbed their coats and marched to protect public education. In the future, they plan to attend similar events.
Finally, “food” turned into their most recent commitment to affect the quality of nutrition at Syracuse schools. In Syracuse there is a wealth of culture and cuisine amongst the families of Syracuse City School District students, and the Youth Council hopes to bring visions of home into the school cafeteria. On their “menu” of changes to school lunch selection includes ethnic and cultural dishes, a wider variety of vegetarian options, and more nutritious options to boost student attentiveness during the long school days. When asked why food was so important, the Youth Council motioned to dozens of studies which confirmed links between good nutrition and improved academic performance for students.
“Also, some kids don’t get to eat a good meal at home. So lunch is the only food someone might get in a day,” the Youth Council pointed out at their March 23rd meeting.
This project is currently in its research and development stage, a perfect time for new Youth Council members to become acquainted with the group’s work. In fact, the Youth Council is exuberant with the idea of new members. They have called upon the ACTS Members Community to help expand the base of youth social justice activism, so together we may witness a brighter future in the days of tomorrow.
“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future,” said Franklin D. Roosevelt. ACTS aims to inspire the next generation of social justice activists through our youth engagement. If we are to dismantle structural racism and poverty in Syracuse indefinitely, we must ensure there is someone to carry the torch on the next leg of the race.
Contact Information for Youth Council Personnel:
Coordinator of the ACTS Youth Council
ACTS Youth Council Contact
(Messages Go to ACTS Youth Council PR Officer Dahabo Farah)