VT9to26 Coalition

The VT9to26 Coalition is a collective, action-oriented group working in partnership to achieve positive outcomes for all youth and young adults across Vermont. Our goal is to build a more holistic approach to youth development; with an even stronger focus on youth voice and youth rights. Drawing inspiration from the Vermont Youth Declaration of Rights, this group is committed to helping youth find what they need to be the best versions of themselves.

Our mission

As a coalition, we support partners of youth in strengthening opportunities, programs, and support in the third space that recognize the rights of youth and increase positive youth outcomes.

We can work with youth to provide many opportunities for young people to be young and to grow into healthy and happy Vermonters.

WHY 9-26?

Being a tween, teen, and young adult is a special time of life that deserves our celebration and recognition. Young people deserve to be seen, heard, and valued. We need to focus our attention on older youth for a number of reasons:

  • Our Collective Well-Being. Given Vermont is such a small state, every young person matters to our present and future.
  • Critical Need for Support. Youth and families experiencing homelessness is on an upward trend. The number of child victims of abuse and neglect is rising as is the number of child and youth in foster care. According to the Vermont Youth Behavior Risk Survey (2015), the risk of youth suicide among middle and high school students is growing. In particular, young women, LGB, and racial minority students are significantly more likely to have attempted suicide or self harm.4,5,6
  • The Third Space for Learning. What young people are doing outside of the home and school matters. This is called “the third space,” and is an area of particular focus for the coalition. Our goal is to spotlight all the other places where youth are rockin’ and rollin’ in the world, as well as what we can do to make sure all youth have equal opportunities for enrichment, engagement, and friendship during the out-of-school time hours.
  • Brain Development. During this phase of life in teens and early 20s, the brain is developing at a rapid rate. Understanding the brain science helps us see how complex and special this time of life is, and why it matters to provide support when risky behaviors and mental illness can peak.
  • Return on Investment. For every dollar spent on quality afterschool and summer learning programs, Vermont gets back $2.18 in long-term savings from reduced criminal activity and substance abuse treatment, as well as accruing additional benefits from increased high school completion and work productivity.7

Talking Points

We make Vermonters here.

    • If you grow up in Vermont, you can be ready for anything.
    • Our young people will make Vermont better if we listen to and respect their voices.
    • We have a collective responsibility to ensure that all young Vermonters are safe, healthy, supported, educated, and engaged.

Young people make a better Vermont.

    • We value youth as they are. Just by being young people living here, they enrich our community.
    • We can celebrate our young people being young and recognize the value of youth in our community.
    • Young people are problem-solvers who are eager to be engaged.

Youth want and need what we all want and need.

    • Vermont youth know what they need. We should listen to them and work with them to provide real opportunities for them to lead.
    • We have the Youth Declaration of Rights as a starting point. Vermont youth have told us what they need in this document.
    • Young and old alike want to be successful and want and need to be loved and appreciated for who they are.
    • Young and old alike need community connection, opportunities to learn, and access to recreation and other activities.
    • Vermont youth have a right to explore interests, connect with each other and build skills, and these opportunities should exist throughout our community.

The “third space” is where we all live, work and play.

    • The third space for youth is everywhere that is not home and not school.
    • Young people spend lots of time outside of their homes and outside of school. This “third space” is an important place for them to get what they need as they grow up.
    • As we go about our lives, we can welcome youth as part of our communities and provide opportunities for them to learn new skills and to have opportunities to play, relax and be young.

We can work with youth to provide many opportunities for young people to be young and to grow into healthy and happy Vermonters.

Join the Coalition

Meetings are always open to all who are interested in how to support youth ages 9 and up. While we are constantly moving forward and focus on grassroots change, new members are welcome to come when they can. Not everyone can make every meeting–that’s a given. Come when you can, plug in where you can, and let’s work together to make Vermont the best place to be a young person.

Email us to join the next virtual meeting.