A project developed by Street Law, Inc. which ran in the UK 2003-2011.
Youth Act trains young people and adults to campaign together for social change on issues of concern to them (e.g. gun and knife crime, housing, hospital closure, bullying, youth services, gangs and environmental issues). The programme fosters political empowerment and personal development. I first heard of it when visiting Street Law Inc. in Washington DC in 2001 where Erin Donovan and colleagues created Youth Act. Erin, Deb Foster and Artemus Carter helped the Citizenship Foundation adapt it in the UK and Rachael Takens-Milne and team raised the funds. I was Project Director 2003-7 and Ade Sofola led Youth Act from 2007-2011. We ran the project in several London boroughs and with Stoke-on-Trent where it was co-ordinated by Christine Wright. Youth Act became an award-winning national initiative using a train the trainers approach including in Derbyshire, Croydon, Coventry and Salford. A similar approach is now being used via the Citizenship Foundation’s InterACT, working with refugee and asylum seekers and young people in long term residential settings.
With thanks to all participants, colleagues, funders and supporters.
“It has meant to me that small people do have powers and sometimes grown-ups don’t realise, but we small people do !!!” (Zak, aged 14)
“Youth Act! has given me confidence and helped me to use my energy and time in a positive way. I love it.” (Francion, aged 15)
Download the Youth Act Train the Trainers Manual
‘Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.’ (Margaret Mead)
Additional Resources and Information:
- Youth Act at Street Law – education about law, democracy and human rights
- Participation Works – Online gateway for youth participation
- The Citizenship Foundation – Education for effective citizenship
- Public Achievement – Building democratic communities in Northern Ireland
- Shelia McKechnie Foundation – Connecting, informing and supporting campaigners
- London Citizens – Campaigning by community, faith groups, trade unions & schools together
- Hear By Right – A framework to help assess and improve practice concerning the active involvement of children and young people
- British Youth Council – Empowering young people to have a say and be heard
- UK Youth Parliament
- Changemakers – Helps young people to set up projects for bringing about positive change in their lives