ABOUT YOUTH ON BOARD
Since 1994, Youth on Board (YOB) has been a leader in the field of youth organizing in the Boston area and beyond.
YOB is a youth-led, adult supported program where young people have the space and tools to recognize and utilize the power they hold to dismantle political and economic structures that reinforce inequity. We believe in the power of students to transform their communities by recognizing that when young people are fully engaged—when their voices are heard, their opinions matter, and their unique perspective is respected—they commit themselves to making their schools, their communities, and their own lives better.
In the past twenty years, we have worked in more than 5 countries, 27 states, and over 100 schools. We are a project of YouthBuild USA.
What We Do
Local Organizing Work
The Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) is a group of student leader from Boston public schools who work on issues that affect young people both inside and outside of school. BSAC is made up predominantly of low-income students of color who as key stakeholders are at the center of the decisions that affect them the most.
Through a partnership with the Boston Public School district (BPS), YOB co-administers this citywide body of student leaders that represents most high schools in the district.
YOB and BSAC work directly with young people as they develop an understanding of the ways economic and political power is distributed in our society. They learn how to change structures that reinforce inequity. YOB and BSAC students have led organizing efforts, forged relationships with district and city-leaders, created and changed school policies, lobbied for increased student representation on the School Committee and other decision-making bodies, and advanced the voice and status of young people throughout Boston. Our projects often operate on multiple levels, addressing district-level systems change, as well as systems change on the state level, while developing workable models of student-led campaign development and movement-building for replication across the country. Most critically, all of BSAC’s projects and campaigns are developed by young people themselves.
Learn more about BSAC here!
ListeningWorks, our newest project, gives us the opportunity to work with organizing groups and share a set of key strategies for social change and relationship building in the current political climate. Utilizing Youth on Board’s signature "Action and Support" model, we seek to build an intergenerational network of movement builders and community leaders ready to confront the challenges we face as a country today. This project will provide organizers skills and techniques necessary for improved communication, listening, and empathy.
Youth on Board provides trainings and technical assistance on various areas, including; youth/adult partnership, youth leadership development, adultism, and establishing a student advisory council.
Support the Youth Voice in Decision-Making Movement
We support youth voice in decision-making on a local and national level through speaking engagements, coalitions, consultations, writing articles, participating in research studies, and writing and selling publications. We are regularly called upon by foundations, think tanks, Federal and State DOE, media outlets, and researchers.
Using BSAC as an "incubator" of programing, Youth on Board takes highly successful campaigns to scale. To date we have done this with:
Youth on Board's mission is to revolutionize the role of young people in society by:
Changing attitudes and strengthen relationships among young people, and between young people and adults;
Supporting young people to be an active force for change in all aspects of their lives; and
Ensuring that policies, practices, and laws reflect young people's role as full and valued members of their communities.
Theory of Change
When young people are fully engaged—when their voices are heard, their opinions matter, and their unique perspective is respected—they commit themselves to making their schools, their communities, and their own lives better.
We envision a world in which young people are at the center of the decisions that affect their lives.