Organizing In School
Often referred to as Education For Mobilization, this program is where we are able support frontline youth leadership by meeting young people where they're at, in school. We aim to educate, build, and support the perspectives, realities, and decisions of youth who are most affected by the climate crisis. We often do this through clubs, presentations, and workshops.
Presentations are a wonderful way to help students connect the climate crisis to their everyday lives. From forest fire smoke inhalation to radioactive shipyards, thousands of young people are already affected by climate injustice. Additionally, presentations are a great way for non-frontline communities to learn about how climate injustice has affected historically marginalized communities. These presentations also serve to connect with students to begin clubs that serve as an easy and accessible route to real grassroots organizing.
Presentations are aimed at 4th-12th graders and can be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on a teacher's schedule. Presentations can be, and are often, modified to fit a classroom's prior knowledge and learning styles.
Workshop at youth climate conference in Oakland, CA.
The idea of building a movement by meeting people where they are at is key to YVA's history and organizing strategy. We don't just want to work with people who already consider themselves climate activists, spokespeople, or leaders. We want to connect with young people, listen to them about their lives and ideas, share information, and remove barriers to them advocating for themselves, their communities, and their planet. School clubs serve as an accessible pathway for young people to organize and be a part of the collective.
"The greatest idea YVA introduced to me was that the climate movement was a place for myself and my Brown and Black peers, and had always been. They talked about Indigenous, Black, and Brown environmental advocates and their work. They showed leadership by people that came from backgrounds like mine, striving to make the world and our communities better and equal. I felt greatly inspired that day, I felt like I had a duty to my people and a purpose. By meeting me where I was at YVA connected me to the climate movement in a unique way. I wasn’t ever going to become involved from a social media post, from a flier or an email. It was by coming into my community, connecting with me in a space I was already comfortable in, and giving me real life examples that I became moved to take action."
- Hannah Estrada, Education & Organizing Team Member,
Fellowship Meeting 2020
YVA's annual climate justice fellowship program is now entering year 5! The fellowship is a chance for young people ages 11-20 to go deeper in their understanding of the intersectional roots of the climate crisis, get more involved with the greater YVA community, and level up in their skills and confidence as advocates and organizers. Youth from around the Bay Area meet for monthly in person meetings and check in with smaller groups weekly. Youth are paid an honorarium upon completing the fellowship-- and also have the opportunity to become leaders within YVA. Past areas of focus include: Climate Justice organizing to Challenge Systems of Oppression, Campaign Strategy & Action Planning, Public Speaking & Lobbying, Using Media and Social Media, Hip Hop Activism (incl. Spoken Word and Creative Writing), Sustaining Ourselves as Activists.