Youth Action Guide 2001: $1,000 Awards for the Best Youth Solutions!

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In this guide ...

* Take on the issues of youth violence & education. * Create solutions that will improve your community and school.

$1,000 Youth in Action Awards are offered for the top youth-initiated projects nationwide. Awards are offered through the National Youth Action Council and Foundation of America: Youth in Action - a-proft organization dedicated to providing recognition and financial support for the voices, ideas and solutions of youth.

HISTORY + BACKGROUND:

To ensure the issues and solutions of youth were being heard and addressed by our nation's leaders, Youth in Action launched two non-partisan (no political affiliation) National Youth Conventions in 1996.

Prior to the Conventions, the ideas, issues and solutions of youth were collected from a nationwide survey and via the www.youthlink.org web site.

Collected youth responses were shaped by youth delegates attending the Youth Conventions into a first-ever National Youth Platform. The Youth Platform was shared by the delegates with mayors, governors, senators and presidential candidates. With support provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts, Carnegie Corporation of New York and Higher Ground for Humanity (singer Jewel's charitable organization), the Youth Conventions and Platform process took place again in Philadelphia and Los Angeles in August 2000. Using data collected from young people across America, youth delegates presented their top 10 issues to Presidential Candidates Ralph Nader and John Hagelin. These issues included education, violence, juvenile justice, drugs and alcohol, political and community involvement, health, human rights, poverty and the environment.

Media coverage from CNN, NBC Nightly News, MTV and others has helped to create a focus on the concerns, voices and solutions of America's youth. Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader called the Youth Conventions "the most pre-eminent and deliberative gathering of youth in politics in America today."

The Youth Action guide builds from the success of the Youth Conventions by encouraging young people to take action on the issues they feel are most important in their communities. Youth who take action and create a project to improve their school, community and our nation become eligible for a $1,000 Youth in Action Award. The Awards are given out by the National Youth Action Council, a team of up to 15 youth leaders (ages 16 to 24) from schools and organizations across America. The Council sets criteria and reviews all youth-initiated and youth-led community improvement project applications to determine the $1,000 Award recipients.

To apply for an award, youth project leaders must submit the included Youth in Action Award application by March 21st, 2002. Top Award winners will be notified by the Council in April 2002 and may be invited to a special Youth in Action Awards ceremony in Washington D.C.

YOUTH ACTION GUIDELINES

Set the context

Describe or review the history of the National Youth Conventions and National Youth Platform. (Additional research can be done by accessing the www.youthlink.org/us web site to review past Youth Platforms, project winners and more history and background of this work. This can also be done as part of a homework assignment for a follow-up discussion.) You may want to ask "do you think that young people are being heard in America today? Should young people have their own platform and conventions? What actions can young people take to improve America?"

Building consensus

Discuss the top issues and concerns of your youth group. Have each young person write down their top three issues and concerns for their school & community. (Please collect and mail/e-mail individual responses to help shape the 2004 National Youth Platform)

Add your voice!

Please let young people know that their issues and ideas can be submitted to help create the next National Youth Platform (see -- Speak Out! …