The Global Action Research Center (The Global ARC) established a Youth Leadership Academy in San Diego. The Youth Leadership Academy is designed to provide youth between the ages of 16-24 social change skill-building opportunities locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally. The Academy operates in partnership with community and university partners such as Mental Health America, San Diego; as well as UC San Diego Bioregional Center for Sustainability Science Planning and Design.
The purpose of the Academy is to encourage young people to become civically engaged in efforts to improve the quality of life within the neighborhoods in which they live. Research shows that all successful social change efforts are either lead by or fueled by youth. The Academy also assists the young academy participant in finding an organization or community group that they can connect to that is developing and has an active social change campaign that matches the young person’s interest. The youth are also be provided tools to develop their own campaign if an active campaign in their area of interest does not exist.
The operation of the Academy is based upon the principles of Positive Youth Development, which call for providing young people with Opportunities, Supports and Services.
- Opportunities: To gain the necessary skills, knowledge and abilities to become an active civically engaged young person and adult.
- Supports: That allow the young person to take full advantage of the opportunities provided
- Services: Ensure that each youth's basic needs are being met (food, clothing, shelter, health, education, etc.)
2016 Youth Power summit Headlined by M1 of Dead Prez with 1,000 high school youth in attendance
The approach that is utilized by the Academy is Community Youth Development. This approach embodies the best principles of Positive Youth Development along with the best principles of community development. A Community Youth Development approach calls for establishing youth and adult partnerships that are focused on specific community problems and issues. These youth/adult partnerships harness the strengths of both groups - the creativity, energy and forthrightness of youth coupled with the knowledge, experience and resources of adults. Community Youth Development brings these strengths together within an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, in the spirit of a true partnership.
The Youth Leadership Academy utilizes a Community Youth Development approach to encourage youth to increase their civic participation, while at the same time increasing their skills, knowledge and abilities to become leaders in the positive transformation of their communities. The youth gain these skills by working with adults within a spectrum of organizations that are addressing community betterment.
The Global Action Research Center established the Youth Leadership Academy for high school age youth in San Diego County. The Academy is developed with the help of community partners, who may include UC San Diego’s Bioregional Center for Sustainability Science, Planning and Design, and Mental Health America, San Diego. We continuously seek to identify other youth focused organizations to join this effort.