Our Work with Youth Councils
We believe that young people make a better Vermont. We value youth as they are. Just by being young people living here, they enrich our community. We recognize the value of youth in our community and know that young people are problem-solvers who are eager to be engaged.
Vermont Afterschool is committed to supporting youth councils across the state. Since 2017, we have been leading statewide discussions on the importance of youth voice, advocating for youth to be included in policy discussions, convening groups of youth to work on issues such as Youth Rights and Health Equity, and helping local communities and organizations to establish their own youth councils.
Currently, we are also following a bill in the Vermont State Legislature that would create a statewide youth council. The proposed statewide youth council would collect input from youth across Vermont and help inform the development of policies that affect young people.
Local Youth Councils
Our approach to youth councils is not about creating an elite group of youth who are charged with making all the decisions. Nor do we expect any discrete group of youth to be able to represent the viewpoints of all the youth in their community. Instead, we work with communities and local organizations to build youth councils with a central focus on elevating the voices of as many youth as possible at every stage of the process. Our youth council members are amplifiers of youth voice; not token or elite youth who try to speak on behalf of all other youth.
Currently, Vermont Afterschool is supporting local youth councils in 8-10 communities across the state. We provide grant funding that allows for stipends for participating youth and funds to support youth-driven projects. Vermont Afterschool guides the local youth councils through a participatory budgeting process that gives youth the opportunity to submit project proposals that address community needs and allows local youth to vote on the projects they want to see implemented. The winning projects will be funded from youth to youth!
To learn more about how we use participatory budgeting process with the youth councils, watch the video below.
Interested in help with starting your own youth council? Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to hear from you and the young people in your program or community soon!