Dear OYU Members,

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

It was a productive year for us and we look forward to another exciting year ahead. As we continue to build our movement to end poverty in America and increase opportunity for all, we want to thank you for walking with us in this struggle for peace, justice, unity, and equity. We hope that you will continue to walk with us and invite others to join as well.

We hope that you found time to wind down, reflect, or engage in whatever form of self-care you find useful, and to celebrate your hard work this year. As a gift from OYU to you, here are some updates of what we’ve been up to in November and December.

We look forward to sharing more updates in 2018, and inviting you to join us in our non-partisan mobilization of voters in low-income communities.

Thank you!
National Action
Community Action Teams (CATs) Leadership Convening 
On December 12-14 th, the leaders of ten Community Action Teams from around the country gathered for OYU’s 1 st National CAT Leadership Convening. The group spent the three days bonding, learning, visioning, and planning. Our partners at the Forum for Youth Investment led a training on fiscal mapping and analyzing city, state, and county budgets. The group also began to strategize how they will increase voter turn-out in their communities and make sure that the issues that affect Opportunity Youth and their communities are taken seriously by candidates for office. 
Opportunity Week and Everyday Democracy Training
On November 4-8 th, the OYU National Council of Young Leaders and some organizers of the CATs spent time together at Opportunity Week in Washington, DC. We started off our weekend with a training on community organizing from our partners at Everyday Democracy . On Monday we met with leaders from the sponsoring organizations behind OYU, and then filled various leadership roles throughout the week. Council members emceed, led sessions, and engaged in conversations with cross-sector leaders at the Opportunity Youth Network conference. Later, OYU leaders also participated in the Opportunity Youth and Boys and Men of Color Alignment Meeting.

Check out the hashtag #opportunityweek on Facebook and Twitter for more pictures of the action!
Obama Foundation Hosts 1 st Leadership Training in Boston!
On November 18, at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston, the Obama Foundation hosted its third and final pilot training. Over 150 young people came together for a day of leadership development and civic engagement. There was also an Engagement Fair with local organizations, where participants could learn about volunteer and leadership opportunities in the greater Boston area. OYU National Council Member, James Fields, led some of the trainings on behalf of his sponsoring organization, Mikva Challenge . Members and organizations of the Boston OYU CAT were present to engage throughout the day.

Click here for a full recap of the day and to learn more about the Obama foundation.
Working with Service Year Alliance (SYA) on Inclusion of Opportunity Youth
On November 16, SYA and OYU jointly convened a small group of experts from organizations including Public Allies, The Corps Network, YouthBuild USA and others to provide input into a best practices handbook to be published by SYA for service programs that aim to include Opportunity Youth.  Julie Jent, OYU National Council member from Berea College in Kentucky, and Germain Castellanos, an OYU Community Leader from Illinois who graduated from a Service Corps YouthBuild program, brought the voice and experience of program graduates to the table. 
Making Connections Matter for Opportunity Youth in Baltimore
On  December 6, 2017 , the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health hosted a Symposium entitled, “Making Connections Matter for Opportunity Youth,” that focused on issues related to youth disconnection. The symposium brought together academic experts, practitioners, policymakers, advocates, and youth to discuss critical issues that affect opportunity youth, as well as promising strategies to create better pathways to education and jobs. OYU National Council Members, Lashon Amado and Kimberly Pham, gave presentations and served on panels. OYU’s Senior Advisor, Dorothy Stoneman, served as the keynote speaker.

Click here to learn more about the initiative and the Bloomberg Fellows program. Fellows receive a full scholarship to receive a Master or Doctor of Public Health from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 
Local Action
Sacramento CAT Host Its 2nd Town Hall
On October 14th, 2017, the young leaders of the Sacramento Youth Alliance CAT hosted its 2 nd Town Hall. On that exciting day, the young people gathered to share their personal experiences and their recommendations for policy change with Mayor Darrell Steinberg and City Council members Jay Schenirer and Eric Guerra.

Here is a list of solutions the young people proposed that day:

  • Create a Sacramento arts and music festival for youth;
  • Create specific positions for youth in the City that are not bound by union rules;
  • Create a Youth Advisory council for transportation;
  • Work on free transportation for youth and start with youth on free and reduced lunch;
  • Strengthen the Youth Commission;
  • Create a bike share for youth;
  • Create a youth position on the City Council

Click here to check out a video of that day!
OYU Community Leader Convenes Civic Engagement Summit
On November 2, OYU Community Leader and Founder of Think Make Live , Terry Green, hosted the 2017 Civic Engagement Forum in Columbus, OH. The summit provided the young people an opportunity to engage with their local elected officials regarding policy solutions around violence, youth justice, and restorative justice. During the program, both young people and elected officials gave presentations and engaged in dialogue with the audience.

Click here to check out a video of the event
Resources & Tools
Forgotten and Left Behind: Shifting Narratives and Exploring Policy Solutions for Vulnerable Youth and Young Adults
Forgotten and Left Behind: Shifting Narratives and Exploring Policy Solutions for Vulnerable Youth and Young Adults provides key insights and next steps from CLASP’s 2017 convening, which discussed the need for a multi-generational, multi-racial, youth-centered dialogue around policy change. The convening engaged 36 participants—including young leaders, researchers, funders, advocates, federal and state decision makers, and program practitioners—to explore relevant data and research, challenge myths and incomplete narratives about young people, and discuss policy implications and systemic solutions for improving youth wellbeing and economic mobility.

Click here to read the full report!
Online but Disconnected: Young Adults' Experiences with Online Job Applications

Heading Here
Earlier this fall, JobsFirstNYC released  Online but Disconnected: Young Adults' Experiences With Online Job Applications , a five year study finding that personality assessments are inappropriate for young adults, unreliable screening tools, and may violate the civil rights of job applicants.

Click here to read the report!
In Solidarity,
Lashon Amado
National Coordinator of the Community Action Teams of Opportunity Youth United
Lashon Amado