Brooklyn Community Foundation is committed to supporting the leadership and agency of youth in creating community change. The Brooklyn Youth Activists was a youth-led grantmaking and advocacy program that affirmed youth as experts and central players in making decisions around supporting youth-centered and youth-led projects.
Each year from 2016-2020 we welcomed a new cohort young people with a strong interest in social justice to our Brooklyn Youth Fellowship, later renamed the Brooklyn Youth Activists. Over a 10 month period, Activists participated in trainings, strategic planning discussions for the Foundation, and designed their own youth-led grantmaking process called the Youth Voice Awards. They also designed and facilitated an annual conference for young people to elevate solutions to justice issues in their communities. In 2021, Brooklyn Community Foundation adopted a participatory grantmaking approach across all of our unrestricted grantmaking programs, transitioning our youth leadership model from The Brooklyn Youth Activists to our Invest in Youth Advisory Council.
2019-2020 Brooklyn Youth Activists:
Aderinsola Marian Babawale
Keron “Ron" Bennett
Samantha Campos Montes
|Guadalupe Jackie Muller
Youth Voice Awards
The Youth Voice Awards celebrated outstanding youth-led projects selected for funding by the Foundation's Brooklyn Youth Activists. The Youth Voice Awards was a youth-led and youth-designed grantmaking process that supported projects submitted by young people in partnership with local nonprofits. Projects were designed to address the Activists' seven justice pillars: LGBTQ Justice, Economic and Housing Justice, Public Health and Reproductive Justice, Food and Environmental Justice, Immigrant Justice, Education Justice, and Racial and Gender Justice.
Brooklyn Youth Activists reviewed and evaluated projects using the following criteria:
Fit into one or more of the justice pillars
Position youth as leaders and decision-makers in their own lives
Provide opportunities for the growth and development of young people
Help young people deepen historical and cultural understanding of their experiences and community issues
Engage young people in political education and awareness
Help young people build a collective identity as social change agents
Have a neighborhood-based and community-driven approach
Promote safe(r) spaces for young people to build, create and MAKE CHANGE!
2019 Youth Voice Awards Winners:
|Arts and Democracy with
Aamnah Khan and Fabilha Anbar
Sari Not Sorry: Reclaiming Space - The project uses saris as a medium to bridge the generational gap between immigrant women (especially Bangladeshi women) and youth to better understand the diaspora and challenge patriarchy. It will highlight stories of immigration, of being first generation, of survival, resistance, resilience, and will explore the symbolism behind the sari by combining the cultural clothing with other mediums (oral histories, photography, writing).
|Brownsville Community Justice Center with Sonia Issa||$2,000||
African American Financial Literacy Event Series: This series will educate youth on the history of African Americans and the economy, with topics including red-lining, housing segregation, and pay disparities. The event will focus on teaching participants things that are not incorporated in school curriculum, like how to file taxes, investing, how ownership works, advice on stocks and budgeting, and how to pay for home mortgages.
|Urban Holistic with
Intergenerational with Myriah Martin
Intergenerational Self Care Book Club: This collaborative book club bridges the gap between young women ages 20-30 and women ages 50-65, and aims to build young women’s self-esteem and advocacy by empowering them to be the voices needed in their community. It also reaffirms the older women's place as matriarchal leaders and mentors in the community.
|Center for Anti-Violence Education with Juvisela Castro, Jacqueline
Castro, Lizbeth Cruz, and Dayana
Expanding the Empowerment: This project will expand the audience for the organization's Upstander workshop to include Spanish-speakers and young children. Workshops demonstrates verbal and physical techniques for knowing when to stand up for others when someone is being bullied or harassed, when to leave a situation, and when to be involved.
|Atlas: DIY with Shari Jade Daley||$1,300||Infinite Care: A series of interactive workshops that discuss the gradient of topics surrounding self-care, including wellness, perspective, and mindset. Workshops combine writing and fun activities that cover each topic in a easy to understand fashion. Each workshop has a question and answer section that leads into a meaningful conversation. All emotions and all topics are welcomed into the space. No one will be frowned upon because of who they are and what they feel.|
|Atlas: DIY with Bryan Pagoada||$1,600||
Pride and Resistance Series: The project is about celebrating pride of being who we are. We are celebrating the resistance we have done all these years; the fights that so many of our community members have done in order to exist, to be here. The project will feature weekly workshops on know your rights, immigrants rights, and lgbtq+ rights and different types of movements let by our community members.
|Girls for Gender Equity with
The Colored Girls Empowerment Project (CGEP.): CGEP intends to recruit 5 young people in Brooklyn to build community with one another and receive training in basic financial literacy components. Peer Financial Educators will assist with workshops in: Saving & Budgeting, Paying for College and Managing Credit Cards.
|El Puente de Williamsburg with Ryan Salcedo||$2,000||H.E.L.P (Helping Everyone Live & Prosper): A project dedicated to serving NYC’s homeless community, and restore dignity and pride in the homeless community by not only providing them with hygiene kits and access to food, but connect them to other resources that can help them attain jobs and homes.|