Youth Development & Leadership

Our Youth Development & Leadership programs represent the intersection between education, organizing, and action. Everyday, we provide opportunities for children and youth to develop the knowledge and skills in community organizing and political advocacy they need to inspire positive change in their communities and make long-term improvements for children in California.

Youth Organizing Long Beach

Youth Organizing Long Beach (YO! LB) is a student-led empowerment club that aims to create a more vibrant and inclusive community in the Long Beach Unified School District through education, organizing and action. YO! LB members take part in dialogues, activities, and events that build their self-esteem, strengthen their leadership, and deepen their sense of responsibility for their fellow students, faculty members, and the greater Long Beach community. Specifically, members of YO! LB:

  • Strengthen attitudes, belief and behaviors that create and sustain emotional, physical and psychological and spiritual well-being.

  • Gain exposure to the critical policy issues facing the campus community in Long Beach and develop original policy recommendations through dialogue, analysis, and self-refection.

  • Learn about the importance of civic engagement and have opportunities to engage directly with the policy making process at the school site, district, and state-wide levels.

  • Organize cultural and educational events that celebrate the rich diversity of the Long Beach school community.

  • Network and build relationships with talented youth from broader youth-led movements, including: Every Student Matters - Long Beach (ESM-LB), the Brothers, Sons, and Selves Coalition - Los Angeles County (BSS), and the California chapters of Boys and Men of Color (BMoC) and Girls and Women of Color (GWoC).

Action Scholars Leadership program

The Action Scholars Leadership (ASL) program prepares current, former and prospective CDF Freedom Schools® scholars and their families to apply the core values and principles of the program to transform their communities. Founded in partnership with Success In Challenges in 2013, ASL provides members with the knowledge base, experiences, and strategies to develop and sustain long-term, youth-led advocacy campaigns influenced by the principles of nonviolent direct action. Specifically, members of ASL:

  • Gain exposure to literature and ideas that deepen their awareness and respect of their own and others humanity, ethnic history, and racial identity.

  • Develop an awareness of the relationship between history, institutional racism, and present day civil rights struggles.

  • Learn the history of of non-violent direct action and gain the experience and how it can be employed to address the personal and community challenges.

  • Build an awareness of and the capacity to critically evaluate public policy and form recommendations informed by research and lived-experience.

  • Network and build relationships with local and regional youth-led healthy change efforts, including: Every Student Matters - Long Beach (ESM-LB), the Brothers, Sons, and Selves Coalition - Los Angeles County (BSS).