In our society, the voice of young people is often discredited. Teenagers can be dismissed as part of the problem and rarely valued as part of the solution — especially in our most vulnerable communities. World Vision’s Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) is working to change that.
Teen Shawn Dunbar, a current YEP participant in Albany, Ga., says, "[The Youth Empowerment Project has] opened my mind to a lot of things about community problems [and] also how to fix those problems; things that we can do to give a hand in fixing those problems instead of just flowing with the crowd — actually take a stand and do it right." In nine of our U.S. Programs sites across the country, young people are finding and cultivating their voice to impact the world around them.
More than 70 youth like Shawn have completed a six-month intensive training series. The training cultivated skills to help youth find their voice, understand the power it has, and learn how to use that power to impact and create positive change.
The six months of training culminates in this week's Youth Empowerment Summit in Washington, D.C., where the youth are gathering together at George Washington University for four days. During this time, they will share their ideas and visions to improve their communities, be encouraged and inspired by nationally known speakers as well as their peers, and present their own policy recommendations to their respective congressional representatives on Capitol Hill.
Following the summit in D.C., youth participants will continue on in their journey toward becoming agents of change by hosting World Vision-sponsored local projects, participating in YEP internship opportunities, and accessing YEP college scholarships and much more. YEP is designed to help move young people in our most vulnerable communities from disempowerment and apathy to empowered change agents.
Look for daily coverage of this exciting event on this site.