YVote and Next Generation Politics were founded in the aftermath of the 2016 election, in recognition of the breadth of civic breakdown in our country, the low percentage at which young people vote, the degree to which civic education is absent in our schools, and the extent of segregation of students within even diverse and dynamic cities.
We bring together high school students who are socioeconomically, racially, and politically diverse to grapple with complex civic issues and current events in order to be informed, engaged citizens and change-makers within schools and communities. We focus on perspective-taking, critical thinking, and civil discourse, creating on-ramps for youth to be actively involved in strengthening democracy and civil society. We are leading a cross-partisan movement of young people committed to building bridges through deliberative dialogue across various divides.
- Host monthly Civic Forums for 50 Civic Fellows from across dozens of high schools—a mix of public and private—during which teens deliberate topics like Voting Rights and Voter Engagement, Freedom of Expression, Criminal Justice, and Immigration and conduct in-depth Civic Action Projects in partnership with civic and social justice organizations
- Conduct Year Round Change Makers & Summer Change Makers Institute, which provide a fresh approach to youth voter motivation and mobilization. Participants analyze issues they care about and explore the intersection of individual activism, collective action, and electoral politics in order to become informed, effective citizens and voters
- Run Democracy Camp, a week-long intensive through which high schoolers analyze the history and current state of our democracy and investigate ways to tackle challenges to it
- Facilitate youth media production including twice-weekly for-GenZ, by-GenZ blog, The Round Table weekly podcast, and Social Media Creator Corps creating daily social media posts to raise peers’ understanding of political and civic issues
Last summer's YVote ChangeMakers Institute brought together 55 teens from high schools across the five boroughs of NYC to develop critical organizing and advocacy skills, engage in knowledge-building around issues they're passionate about—racial justice, climate change, immigration, criminal justice, affordability/gentrification—and how they connect to electoral politics, and build peer voter engagement campaigns and candidate "score cards." The institute concluded with a stellar Civic Expo, with youth running civic action stations sharing what they learned. Over the course of the school year, teens immersed themselves in Days of Action and virtual advocacy sessions, continuing to build leadership and organizing tools as they mobilized peers across the city and country in the service of building a youth civic movement, at and beyond the ballot box.
Our Summer Civic Fellowship brings together an additional 50 civic-minded teens from across the country for dialogue and deliberation about complex societal issues from multiple perspectives over the course of six weekly interactive sessions.
In the Summer of 2022, we launched one of our most exciting ventures yet: Democracy Camp. At a time when many young people are feeling the fragility of our imperfect democracy more strongly than ever before, the time is ripe to immerse high schoolers in exploration of the keys to successful democracy; what results democracy must deliver for people to find it viable; what it will take to make democracies more responsive and resilient and to build a broader community of partners committed to global democratic renewal; and how we build commitment to, and capacity for, democracy-building amongst the rising leaders of GenZ (and beyond). Our pilot summer was an energizing success and we are excited for 2023's Camp to begin. We are seeking founding donors to help us build out the vision on a larger scale at a pivotal time.
We are so proud that GenZ and millennials turned out at the ballot box in record numbers in 2020, and now comprise close to 40% of the electorate (!) We must continue to build and grow this effort. Your generous donation will help us equip young people to be informed, engaged transformers of our political landscape.