As a person who cares deeply about the success of educational systems in America, I am often faced with the question: How can I help? How can I help make a difference in the lives of young people, to ensure that all youth have access to a fair and quality education that meets their needs? How can I support educational systems to be more successful in meeting the needs of their students?
My answer lies in the (often) untapped power of youth and the community.
Youth have direct insight into their needs, the organizations and systems that serve them, and the contexts they are embedded in. Youth have the ability and desire to create positive change in the world around them. When given the proper tools and support, youth can become transformational.
The community is filled with resources and services to support this transformation. Services, programs, and organizations serve to meet the needs of youth and others in the community. Parents care about the well-being of their children and want them to be successful in life. Community members can organize, rally, and support movements around causes they care about.
Thus, I believe: When we can combine the unsurmountable power of these two forces, we can make a difference in the lives of young people to ensure that ALL youth have access to a fair and quality education that meets their needs AND we can support educational systems in doing so.