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It's been an incredibly productive Spring at
Young Voices!This included youth testifying at State House hearings, partnering in the redesign of their schools, conducting extensive research, and meeting with school and statewide leaders. We also had 30 new youth join Young Voices, which now operates at four sites across the state.
New models for School Reform
Across the country, states are identifying their lowest-performing schools for turnaround.Last year, we created a national model for how students can be true partners in the redesign of their schools.Young Voices is working with students at two RI high schools to ensure real student voice in the redesign process.
With the support of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, we provided weekly leadership training to students at Central Falls and Juanita Sanchez high schools.The students met regularly with school administration.They also surveyed the whole student body to get their input on their schools' Reform Plans, and used this data to create Action Plans to improve their school.These Action Plans will be the basis of student organizing at the schools for the next two years. Click here to read the Central Falls Report!
On May 24th, the students at Central Falls HS presented their research and Action Plan to the Board of Trustees, which oversees the school district!The Deputy Superintendent then committed to responding in writing, as to how he will incorporate their recommendations into the Reform Plan.
Young Voices students in Central Falls, presenting their research to the Board of Trustees.
Tobacco Control Advocacy
Young Voices partnered with the Dept of Health, Mayor Taveras' Substance Abuse Prevention Council, the RI Tobacco Control Network, John Hope Settlement House, ChISPA, and the Urban League to create policy change that will protect kids from being targeted by tobacco companies.
This included successfully passing an ordinance that penalizes retailers for selling "loosies" (single cigarettes) to kids, and testifying at hearings to ensure that taxes on cigarettes remain in effect.
Fabiola Noel of Young Voices, participates in signing new legislation with
Mayor Taveras, Councilman Correira and other community leaders.
Ensuring families have access to
Young Voices partnered with the Ms. Foundation, the Poverty Institute, RI Kidscount, the SEIU and other advocacy groups to push for policies that would increase families' access to subsidized child care.This included testifying at hearings.Access to affordable child care is a critical part of the youths' Policy Plan for Education in RI; for students to be successful, they must enter kindergarten ready to learn.
Welcoming Emily Harris,
Young Voices Program Coordinator
Emily Harris brings experience in youth development, social science research, advocacy, and community outreach. A native Rhode Islander, she began her youth development career as an After-School Coordinator at the West End Community School in Providence. Since then she has continued her work with youth as a literacy tutor, while pursuing a graduate education at the Graduate School of Arts and Science of New York University. She returned to Rhode Island after graduating with a master's degree in Humanities and