Understanding Youth Philanthropy: Worcester Teen Leadership Conference (WTLC)

Pre-assess - Understand
Strongly Agree
Pre-assess - Inspired
Strongly Agree
Pre-assess - Engaged
Strongly Agree
Pre-assess - Skills
Strongly Agree
Pre-assess - Stand Up
Strongly Agree
Pre-assess - Reach Out
Strongly Agree
Pre-assess - Others
Strongly Agree
Details - Project Image
8 of the 10 team members on the project. Devin Kelly (team leader) to the bottom left.
Injustice - Importance
The group of teens writing this grant application are participants in a program called Youth for Community Improvement (YCI) which runs under the Greater Worcester Community Foundation. Our mission is to use youth philanthropy and teen leadership in the grant making process to put approximately $25,000 annually into Worcester county through non-profits. Youth philanthropy is rare and exciting field of volunteerism that uniquely puts youth in the decision making positions to make direct impacts on their communities. For that reason, it’s vital that the panels of youth philanthropy programs are diverse and reflect the complex challenges each community faces. Unfortunately, youth philanthropy has struggled to be inclusive towards minority youths and youth of low socioeconomic status. The marginalized youth of our communities can provide valuable perspectives as they have experienced first hand the effects of various other injustices. Their perspectives can provide programs with insight to become aware of these issues and effectively better these aspects of the community.
Injustice - Who Affected
This injustice impacts a wide range of youth. Youth of low socioeconomic status often are discouraged from participating in youth philanthropic programs due to the lack of support systems such as travel stipends which are necessary for their participation. Youth of racial minorities may feel uncomfortable participating in youth philanthropy programs that have historically been composed mainly of white privileged youth. This injustice also impacts homeless youth and victims of the technology gap who require access to free food in order to participate and don’t have access to the online platforms to become educated about the opportunities that youth philanthropy provides in their area, respectively.
Injustice - How Affected
This injustice directly affects our population of disadvantaged youth while also indirectly affecting their communities as a whole because without a diverse group of youth, the different perspectives which should be taken into consideration, are eliminated. This ultimately results in issues being overlooked or ignored. As a result of the lack of accessibility, marginalized youth do not feel they are welcome to participate. Additionally, the youth that do not participate miss out on the opportunity to build a valuable skill set including facilitation, grant reviewing, achieving compromise, time management, and networking which youth philanthropy programs can provide.
Injustice - Who Causes
Family led foundations whose main financial contributors and decision makers are people who can not fully relate to the strife and struggles of the impoverished and marginalized of their communities. For that reason, decision making boards are not allocating enough funds, or any funds to youth philanthropy organizations. Boards that do not allocate funds for necessary amenities such community outreach to educate different youth demographics on the opportunity for participation are also main contributors to this injustice. Also, decision making boards that do not provide youth philanthropy programs with enough funding to distribute stipends are to blame as travel stipends are necessary for impoverished youth to get to and from program meetings.
Injustice - Why
Organizational leaders and philanthropy professionals often do not have the ability to effectively communicate with youth and do not know how to incorporate youth voice into their programs. Additionally, family foundation leaders that come from wealthy and privileged backgrounds frequently are uneducated on the issues that detriment the poorest of their communities who do not have the platform to share their needs.
Initial Problem Statement
The injustice we seek to change in our communities is the lack of access to youth philanthropy programs for both racial minorities and youth of low socioeconomic status, which inhibits them from both learning about and participating in the valuable leadership opportunity of youth philanthropy, and silences their voices within important decision making panels.
Interview - Who
one inner city high schooler, one youth program director, one adult head of a grant making panel
Interview - How They Feel
The marginalized student responded that "Organizations should do more to include youth of minority or low socioeconomic status. They could start by making your volunteer days more widely known to these youth‘s making their organizations more open about who they are and what they do and focus on or creating more events that are geared towards them. They all could also try to extend the reach towards the schools that these youth attend and announce to them the opportunities they offer when they participate in their organizations".
Interview - How Affected
Sarah is a youth program director, so she has first hand experience with trying to support marginalized youth but not receiving enough funding from her mother organization in order to provide all the aid she wants to. Ann is one of the few wise adult grant makers at a family fund who has recognized the power of youth voice in the philanthropy world. She also is aware that many of her colleagues question the ability of youth leaders and are reluctant to give youth programs funding. Juliangie is a minority student who attends a public school in Worcester, MA. Because of her low socioeconomic status, she has shared that transportation is difficult to meet any type of program's meetings. Also, she believes that many programs ignore and overlook poor youth in the recruitment process, which means she has less opportunity to serve in leadership positions.
Interview - Why They Feel That Way
Sarah has 5 years experience as a director and over 15 years of experience working for a family foundation. As an expert in her field within the greater Boston area, she has spoken about the importance of youth philanthropy at numerous conferences and has found the majority of her audience to be unaware of what youth philanthropy is, and how it can be incorporated into the adult philanthropy world. Her 5 years as a director has left her confident in the abilities of teens on grant making panels. Ann has seen first hand the immense growth and social impact YCI has had on Worcester County over its 20 years of existence. Ann wants to be part of an institutional change starting from grant board leadership nationwide to embrace youth philanthropists and expand youth philanthropy to marginalized youth. Juliangie is on the poverty line, and a proud latina. She has faced instances of racial discrimination and limitations created by her low socioeconomic status that have led her to believe that more can be done to include poor colored youth in teen leadership programs.
Interview - How Involved
Ann, a board member on a grant making council that actually funds a youth philanthropy program said, "I don’t feel that every foundation should run their own programs. Those that are interested should be clear on what they are trying to accomplish, and they can call on their peers to find out how to make it work. The field is mature enough now to have plenty of lessons to share. Even if a foundation does not want to operate this it CAN fund other teen action groups to have this special project." Ann is saying that the funding exists within family foundations, but these foundations need to trust youth leaders and in their ability to make responsible change. Not every family foundation needs to create a replica YCI, but every family foundation should be allocating power to youth through some youth led program. Sarah, the youth philanthropy program advisor is already leading the charge. For over 5 years she has worked to give teens the tools they need to run the YCI program themselves, and also serves as an opportunity coordinator for the youth of the program in order to support them in their career endeavors.
Root Cause
We identified two major root causes for why there is a lack of accessibility to youth philanthropic programs to marginalized youth: the organization structure of family foundations, and not enough money being allocated to youth philanthropy programs. Family foundations are typically started by a singular wealthy family member with funds growing annually and controlled by the descendants of that initial investor. Because of that structure, the people that are controlling the funds in family foundations are usually the wealthy and privileged inheritors of the family wealth. These people are often disconnected from the communities that most need the funds to address their issues including racial minorities, and the poor. Additionally, the few foundations that have already created youth philanthropy programs are not allocating enough funds to these programs to provide for necessary amenities that would allow for the participation of youth from low socioeconomic backgrounds, such as transportation stipends and food. Lastly, because there are limitations on funding to youth philanthropy programs, it makes it increasingly difficult to do outreach within the communities where these programs exist to diversify the participants. The more privileged existing participants with access to guidance counselors and technology educated their friends on the opportunity to participate, which creates a cycle of the same demographics participating in these programs- consequently ignoring those outside of the cycle.
Compassionate Insight - Injustice
the lack of racial and socioeconomic diversity within youth philanthropic programs
Compassionate Insight - Address
the absence of accessibility for marginalized youth to participate
Compassionate Insight - Action
specifically seeking their perspective through a conference at a location convenient to them, with food and materials provided, and at no cost to participants.
Compassionate Insight - Comments
Hi Devin!

Thanks so much for tackling injustice -- the inaccessibility of youth philanthropic programs is a real injustice that not a lot of people are focusing on -- this is important work!!

We provide feedback at key stages of the process to help folks strengthen their projects and deepen their impact. The Insight is one of those steps:

Strengths: Your insight is strong and clear. You've identified that the inaccessibility of philanthropic programs as a core root cause for the lack of diversity in youth philanthropic programs. And -- you've thought strategically about how to respond to this inaccessibility by creating an opportunity to engage folks who aren't always engaged through creating a conference that is intentionally designed to welcome those folks. This is the beginning of a very powerful project!!

Things to Consider: As you move into the Plan stage of your project, it will be important to think about how to collaborate with a range of people as you plan -- how can talking to various people within the community you want to serve help you identify any blind spots or things that may make it difficult to participate in (in addition to the many barriers you've already thought of)? And, to deepen your long term impact, how can you use this opportunity to collaborate with the gatekeepers of philanthropic programs so that they can learn from your work and create more accessible programs in the future? How can you capture the wisdom you'll glean through the conference and share it in a way that will make others engaged in leading philanthropic programs more aware of this problem -- and potential solutions?

I'm so excited to learn more about your ideas -- and what you learn along the way!

Best of luck as you plan the next steps!

Comment Date
Fri, 03/22/2019 - 12:14
Thank you so much Kelsey! We are already working on our plans and hope to excite you with our innovative ideas.
Comment Date
Fri, 03/22/2019 - 12:55
Plan - Goals
1. Get 15 marginalized (impoverished/homeless/minority) high school students to participate in an educational, interactive, and motivational youth philanthropic conference

2. Secure a location for the conference that is accesible for the students
3. Receive student feedback that the event made them learn more about youth philanthropy
4. Empower marginalized students to use what resources they have to make change in their communities
5. Have at least 1 conference attendees join Youth For Community Improvement
6. Use the knowledge we gain through the conference to talk with family foundations and youth philanthropic programs across New England to discuss how they can be more inclusive to marginalized teens, and how more programs/resources can be created for teen philanthropists
Plan - Compassion
1. Reaching out to marginalized youth to participate in the program.
2. Advertise and do community outreach in a considerate way that takes into consideration the technology gap that exists within our community: we will print paper applications
3. Ask questions in our applications that are clear, as many Worcester students speak English as a second language. Also, we will offer applications in other major languages, or any language requested by applicant schools.
4. Hosting the conference at a location convenient to the students who have transportation issues
5. Listen to the unique struggles of the students while at the conference, so that we can more effectively and truthfully address the issue of accessibility in youth philanthropic programs when we talk with adult philanthropy leaders and community foundations
6. Give $50 to the winning partners of the “Shark Tank” philanthropy activity which will go towards the personal Worcester non-profit that they advocate for
Plan - Courage
1. We will enter an adult dominated field typically led by privileged families and advocate on behalf of marginalized youth voices in our community, as teen leaders ourselves
2. We will (and have) communicated in a professional manner to adults within our community in our planning process, from finding a location to finding food sponsors
3. Despite the fear of public speaking amongst some of the members of this project team, we are all passionate enough about this issue to speak in front of 15 students at the conference
4. If this project is sucessful, we will use our new insights to talk with philanthropy leaders across New England about changes they can make to be more inclusive. We even hope to hold a philanthropy conference of our own where we present our findings and expertise to dozens, even hundreds of adult philanthropy leaders
Plan - Collaborate
1. In nature this project is very collaborative as it is 10 high school students from all across Worcester County, MA working together to solve this issue
2. We will work with youth philanthropic leaders such as Sarah Shugrue who we interviewed to make sure our conference presents the best information possible
3. We will reach out to Worcester public schools to recruit students an find a confence location
4. We will talk with community business owners to find food sponsors/discounts
5. At the conference we will collaborate with the attendees to learn about their struggles, and think of solutions to the inaccessibility of youth philanthropic programs
6. After the conference, we hope to collaborate with as many philanthropic leaders within New England as we can to spread our message to those in power and share our findings
Plan - Direction
1. Get demographic information from our 15 participants to analyze how well we achieved diversity and serving marginalized youth
2. Most importantly, we will be giving our a survey before the conference to assess the philanthropy knowledge of the 15 participants, and at the end of the conference we will hand out the same survey to see if we were impactful educators.
3. If participants show interest and hopefully join Youth For Community Improvement. Our goal is at least 2 attendees joining YCI.
4. If through our project, we are able to gain valuable insight to share with adult philanthropic leaders in New England
Plan - Steps
1. Schedule the entire confence day full of substantive and creative activities, with the assistance of philanthropy professionals to be the most impactful (completed)
2. Create a budget that takes all expenses into consideration including the particular needs of marginalized youth (completed).
3. Reach out to Worcester public schools to find a host location (completed)
4. Reach out to local restaurant owners to find food sponsors or those willing to give us discounts (completed)
5. Create an application so that students can apply to attend the conference- and then give that application to the 5 public high schools in Worcester, MA.
6. Review the applications and form a diverse group of participants
7. Create and send the pre-conference evaluation document to the 15 participants
8. Organize our resources for the conference, and practice the speaking parts for all the activities
9. (This step would likely be before step 7) speak with Administration at the host location school and participant students to set a convenient date for the conference
Plan - Comments
Hi Devin!

Wow! It is amazing to read about your ideas in more depth and I can tell how deeply you and your team have thought about how to tackle this injustice and how organized you are about the details.

Congratulations!! Your Plan is Approved. This means you can move forward with creating your budget to apply for a mini-grant of up to $250. I also wanted to let you know that you are eligible for our Power of Youth Challenge, which is open to young people ages 13-18 in the USA. I'm not sure what the timeline of your project is, but if you are If able to carry out your project and complete your Reflection by June 30th, then you will be eligible for consideration for the $5,000 Power of Youth grant to grow your impact.

If this timeline doesn't work for you -- that's fine! Just wanted to let you know your options to be eligible for the larger grant. In general, if you are not going to participate in the Power of Youth Challenge, we ask folks to complete their projects within 3 months of receiving the mini-grant.

Here is some feedback about your plan:

Your plan deeply considers how to employ the 3 C's of peacemaking. You are thinking deeply about the community of folks you want to participate and how to create an experience that works for their specific needs. You are standing up as leaders in a space dominated by adults -- that shows tremendous courage. And collaboration is baked into every phase of your work -- from planning the event to how you will use the outcomes of the event to transform philanthropy in New England! I am also really impressed by how you've developed SMART goals that ground you in both your specific plan for the conference, and your longer term goal to transform the way philanthropy works. Critically, you've also thought deeply about how to track your progress -- and your impact!!

Areas to Consider: You are doing very powerful work and thinking about who needs to know about what you discover to create broader change. I'm curious how you can engage some of those philanthropic leaders in putting on the event itself? Are there philanthropic orgs that might be interested in what you are doing and could help sponsor the event?

Looking forward to supporting your work!

Comment Date
Fri, 03/29/2019 - 13:15
Details - Country (deprecated)
United States
Details - Location (deprecated)
Worcester, MA
Grant - Resource
Print paper
Poster paper for presentations
Sticker name tags
Flashcards for activity
Printing costs (instructions, YCI pamphlets, surveys, etc.)
Main food- even with sponsor supplements
Allergy side fund for special food
Snack fund
Shark tank activity winner incentive (given to winning group that best advocates for their Worcester non-profit)
Grant - Confirm Age
Grant - Confirm Use
Grant - Confirm Start
Grant - Confirm End
Grant - Confirm Report
Grant - Comments
Hi Devin,

Congratulations! Your mini-grant has been approved! We’re excited to support your project with a grant. Once you add your payment details we will work to get your grant to you over the next two weeks.

Comment Date
Wed, 04/03/2019 - 10:17
Payment - PF Affiliated
Payment - Bank Account
Payment - E-Check
Payment - Agree to Terms
Grant - Total
Group meeting
Fri, 04/19/2019 - 13:50
We just met yesterday to create our official application for students to join the conference. We also will be setting the date in the upcoming days!
Conference date!
Wed, 05/08/2019 - 16:30
We have set our conference for Saturday June 8th! Applications are already sent out across Worcester, MA.
Last meeting
Wed, 05/22/2019 - 11:01
Over the weekend we held our last group meeting in preparation for the conference! The guest speakers are booked, 10-15 impressive applicants have been selected, and all activity materials are being organized.
Post-assess - Engaged
Strongly Agree
Post-assess - Understand
Strongly Agree
Post-assess - Inspired
Strongly Agree
Post-assess - Skills
Post-assess - Stand Up
Strongly Agree
Post-assess - Reach Out
Strongly Agree
Post-assess - Others
Strongly Agree
Reflect - Deepen
Trying to find the roots of our injustice as well as the impact on our community helps us to understand the approach to trying to solve the injustice of lack of access to YPP (youth philanthropy programs) for protected classes and/or POC, LGBTQ+ individuals (Ariel). We have learned so much more about injustice in community, beyond even the lack of opportunity for marginalized youth within the field of philanthropy. Through discussions with participants and community leaders- we have discovered an opportunity gap that is holding back all teens in Worcester, but particularly students of color. There are so many obstacles in the way of students becoming leaders and starting their own initiatives that is created by the Worcester educational bureaucracy. Students cannot have an event after school or they have to pay janitors feeds, even if they don’t make a mess, or are willing to thoroughly clean themselves. When janitors feels for a two hour long meeting hand go as high as $200, it is literally impossible for inner city students to organize themselves. We also experienced the technology gap within our application process for students applying to the conference. We created a google forms version, as well as a version guidance could print out and give to students without access to technology. Unfortunately, students informed us that many guidance counselors were not doing their job and did not inform students of the opportunity in any way. It’s truly sad how paid city employees are obstacles in the way of the success of students simply because of their incompetency. We were not surprised to find that our participants did not know what youth philanthropy was before attending our conference. The average from 1-10 of reported knowledge of “youth philanthropy” before of conference taken from the pre-assesment results was a 2. After the conference, we proved our success as teachers, as that number grew to an average of 7. We also learned that students in our city simply don’t know about the opportunities and resources that exist for them outside of school- and even outside the philanthropy world. In a post assessment, one student wrote that “I feel like by taking advantage of my resources, I can change my community for the better”.
Reflect - Change
The teens who participated in the project were able to find new avenues on how to be more vocal about what they want to see change in their community. They were able to understand their voice is needed in many different areas whether it be the school system, city council, or public health. Many people wanted to get more involved in other programs to be able to better address their needs as teens. Hopefully the project creates a chain reaction for more youth to use their voice to change our community (Kristen). One student who attended wrote that “ This conference/program, has helped me feel more motivated [to be active in the community]”. Another student wrote, “I do feel better educated about youth philanthropy. I’ve always heard others say my voice matters, but I never understood how important it was”.
Reflect - How Many
Reflect - How Many Explained
We are a team of 10 students who have been greatly impacted impacted by this conference, and have become better leaders because of it. Our goal was to have 15 students participate, and we achieved 15 accepted and impressive applicants to our conference. Unfortunately, only 9 were able to follow through. However, we did impact even those students who weren’t able to come- as we shared our contacts with them and will continue to inform them of opportunities within the philanthropy field in central Mass. We also impacted those who spoke at our conference, gave us advice as to how to run the conference, and on business leaders who gave us discounts on foods and snacks. We made a larger impact because our project made foundation news and was shared throughout Worcester media outlets. Hopefully many Worcester citizens read about our team and are inspired to get more involved, or have more respect for the passionate kids that Worcester is producing. Additionally, our impact goes farther than we could ever know. We have inspired students to become leaders, start their own initiatives, and positively impact even more youth. Already we have heard from one participant who is going to volunteer with YPP, a youth philanthropy educational program in Worcester geared towards elementary schoolers. Now all those little kids will be impacted by a positive older role model who we inspired to take action (Devin). We tried to emulate the size of the GWCF’s(Greater Worcester Community Fund) YCI(Youth for Community Improvement) class size. Unfortunately, had a smaller class size than we expected but I think it helped to make sure that all people involved in our conference were heard and that we were able to facilitate effectively.Due to the fact this was our first time doing something like this it was nice to have a smaller class to make the experience more smooth. (Ariel)
Reflect - People Affected
We learned from both the students that attended our conference, and the students that backed out at the last second, or simply couldn’t attend. So many students who attended felt comfortable to share stories about discrimination they feel they have experienced because of their race or ethnic group within Worcester Public schools and how that has negatively impacted their view on community service within Worcester. One student spoke about a friend of theirs who was told by a teacher to go back to Mexico- despite him being a legal Latino American. While we focused on youth Philanthropy, there is no denying that there is an inherently racist educational system that exists within our community in central Massachusetts- and when the majority of extracurricular opportunities stem from school, students of color are being tuned away. There were 5 students who had filled out an application and were accepted into our conference and the day before they contacted us saying they could no longer attend. We wanted to know why, and all of them said it was because they couldn’t find rides. We were very disappointed as our team had made clear for weeks in advance that we could drive students, we could hand out travel stipends, and we could pay for Uber rides with parental supervision. While we trust students couldn’t find rides, the issue presented is much more complex and institutionalized than that. After talking with extracurricular program leaders, teachers, and business owners in Worcester, we discovered that there is a culture amongst Worcester teens that not showing up, and not communicating at a mature level is acceptable. Some members of our team come from privileged towns where we are taught about responsibility and “adult/professional behavior” in classes from a young age. Unfortunately, Worcester public school teens aren’t being taught the necessary life skills that will allow them to follow through with important opportunities such as our conference where they can make connections that could potential help them in their careers (Devin). Our conference was created to allow those affected by our injustice the opportunity to be educated on youth philanthropy, learn ways to contribute and at the end of the conference, actually become philanthropists by donating money to an organization. Through our conference we were able to have open discussions with those affected by the lack of education regarding philanthropy and identify how that issue directly impacted their lives. Our team genuinely cared to hear these people’s stories and personal experiences regarding the injustice placed upon them and with this we were able to educate ourselves on the effects which we had not previously considered (Alyvia).
Reflect - Learn
Personally, I believe that through the process of planning and executing our conference we were able to all grow as individuals. Our project required many of us to branch out to people in our community in order to ask for assistance, advice, and to invite youth to our conference. This project was not only an opportunity to teach our peers about youth philanthropy but it was an opportunity for every member of our team to learn and enhance skills such as decision making, public speaking, reaching out to those in our community, etc. (Alyvia). We learned a lot about compromise and hearing one another out which is an important concept to learn especially as we move on to college and other professional environments. We learned how to organize meetings that fit the schedules of our group members and meeting places that were convenient to the most group members as possible. (Ariel). I can’t speak for others in my group, but I personally learned a lot about myself and what a community really is through this project. Earlier in the school year I had an incident where I feel that an opportunity was taken away from me due to my Latino heritage, and due to my family not being as affluent as others in my predominantly white, privileged town. I remember going home to my parents crying, feeling defeated by a system that was seemingly always against me no matter how hard I worked or how impressive my resume was. I decided to stop trying to impress the town I moved to when I was 12, and look back to the city that accepts me, and is proud of me for the person I am - and that is Worcester. This team is a group of diverse kids that support one another in any pursuit. I learned though this project that a community isn’t where who live, it’s who you chose to live life with. And I chose Worcester, and I chose the friends that have supported my leadership in this project.

Reflect - Challenges
A major issue that arose throughout the span of our planning and execution process was getting people to be involved. Our team consisted of strictly teenagers who are all reliant on parents and guardians to drive us around and get us to places we wished to be and this was challenging for us as even though we were all passionate about being involved, at the end of the day we were not always able to meet face to face. This issue was also prevalent in securing participants for our conference as we aimed to involve only youth participants yet our group was devoted to giving as many kids as possible the opportunity to take part in our conference and we found ways around this curve. Members offered rides to participants, dates were changed to fit people’s schedules and money management was used to pay for transportation for our key speaker. Our team’s devotion to the project was able to overcome a major roadblock we faced and were able to successfully host our conference (Alyvia). In the beginning of our journey we had a lot of help from people around the Worcester county community to aid us in our mission. As we progressed in the planning of the conference that communication between those individuals grew less often due to conflicting schedules and other responsibilities they had. We had to learn to trust our own judgement as well as use resources given to us that were available at the time. As a result I feel like as a whole we came up with our most creative, thoughtful and best ideas (Ariel).

Reflect - Others
Our project was catered to improve youth knowledge of philanthropy and for us, we felt it was necessary to get as many youth voices involved as possible. We involved the opinions of our peers, friends and our own experiences in order to fully ensure that our conference would be successful in achieving our goal of educating youth on philanthropy. We worked with a youth philanthropist within our community to hear her insight on the injustice and even invited her to speak at our conference while also encouraging her to take part in discussions throughout the event and help enlighten us and the participants which we believe was extremely beneficial in leaving a positive impact on everyone involved in the project. She works along side Governor Charlie Baker’s legal team, and with the NAACP to fight for civil liberties for students of color in the greater Worcester area, and is most famous for her battle to keep a poster of Colin Kaepernick up at her school for black history month despite opposition from white school leadership. The experiences she shared with conference attendees was extremely motivating, and showed how powerful youth voice can be. We also reached out to philanthropists from organizations outside of the Greater Worcester Community foundation for advice about hosting a conference. We even modeled one of our activities off of an activity used by Mass Philanthropy. Getting our conference location was a joint labor with a fellow Worcester Community philanthropy group called Andy’s Attic that collects clothing to be donated to low income students. The executive manager of Andy’s Attic is a contact we received through networking, and working alongside her, we were able to host our conference at the same time as their meeting at South High School. If we hadn’t joined forces, we would have had to pay huge amounts of janitors fees which would have made both of our events impossible. Everyone in our group had different connections, networks and friendships which all aided us in planning and carrying out our plan. Each individual in our group had an impact in the planning through another individual, group, business, etc. The diversity in our groups really aiding us in expanding the scope of the project.
Reflect - Future Hopes
Since the first day of planning out this starter project with the $250, we knew exactly how we wanted to expand this into more than just an event. We have learned so much from the students that participated in the Worcester Teen Leadership Conference, and we want to share that information with adults in power. If we are fortunate enough to receive additional funding, our team would like to do a tour around New England talking to managers and executive boards of community foundations encouraging them to start youth philanthropy programs of their own. There simply aren’t enough opportunities for youth to enter philanthropy in New England at the moment, and programs like Youth for Community Improvement (How our team met) teach youth the ins and outs of the actual grant making process- which has a high success rate for producing actual non profit workers. Not only will we encourage philanthropy leaders to get excited and on board will youth philanthropy, but we will emphasize the need for specific opportunities to be created for youth of color, youth of low socioeconomic status, and LGBTQ youth (Devin). We hope the project can be able to reach as many youth as possible, especially those who are underprivileged. We want to give teens access to have a leadership position in their community because their voice matters as well. The project will hopefully expand into a larger conference to be able to benefit more people. We want to be able to ignite the flames of leadership in those who believe they have no power to as many teens in Worcester as possible. We hope teens will be able to learn more about youth philanthropy and what they could do to improve their community(Kristen). My hopes for the future of this project is that we help more and more youth and that our work inspires change in our community. I also hope in the long run we can inspire a group of youth to start a project of their own and do a similar thing that we are doing as we all have been inspired by different groups of youth who volunteer, are active in their community, and/or make a difference in their community (Ariel).

Reflect - Future Support
Frankly the thing we need most to keep pushing our message forward is funding. Our team is so serious and passionate about being able to execute the tour throughout New England, but travel costs as well as printing costs can be extremely expensive and something we can’t do on our own. We need the help of grants from organizations like Peace First to continue the push for more youth philanthropy opportunities, especially for marginalized demographics. Additionally, we need aN adult volunteer to serve as our manager and coordinator as we travel through New England. Our Youth for Community Improvement director Sarah would love to, and we are sure she would volunteer to do it, but we know her schedule and would never give her more responsibility than she had already volunteered to accept within the greater Worcester region. Lastly, we are aware that there is an opportunity the receive an additional $5000 grant. We are also aware that there are so many deserving and empowered youth that have done projects with Peace First who also want that grant. Our team would just like to share with you that we are a special group. From the first day we met, we had a shared spark and drive to change the status quo and make a real change in our home town - which we already have. I don’t know a group of more hardworking and dedicated teens than us, and we are ready to execute our dream of giving more kids a chance to learn about philanthropy in our home state. If you chose us to trust your funding with again, we promise we will not let you down, and that real change will be made. Thank you Peace First for believing in the power of kids, and thank you for believing in us (Devin). We would definitely need more support from the schools to encore their students to participate in the conference. We would need to be to advertise the event to as many teens in Worcester so working with local teen centers like Girls Inc. or Boys and Girls Club of Worcester would be able to give us the opportunity to bring this to another groups of teens. We would need more money to be able to host the event at a larger venue and cater to more teens. We would need more news coverage from local media outlets so they can bring to the event to the public in order to gain more participants. We would want programs who have a lack of youth voice give opportunities to teens to have leadership roles in improving their programs to better serve them (Kristen). I think reaching out to more adults. active community members, and youth to get their opinions, insight, and advice on how to improve our work will be the key to achieve what we hope to accomplish (Ariel).

Reflect - Accelerator
Reflect - Advice
At the start of our journey in creating our peacemaking project everything seemed very intimidating especially since our team consisted of strictly youth, yet a component that was extremely important for us throughout this process was communication. While forming any project with a team it is essential that every voice and opinion is heard because every member offers a unique viewpoint that could make the project the very best that it can be. Don’t be afraid to have very candid discussions all throughout the process as they can help shape the project to become something beyond your original plans and lead to great success (Alyvia). When planning the peacemaking project the best thing to do is to understand the importance of the project you want to create. Once the need for the project is understood by the team the planning will go more smoothly because everyone understands its value. There should always be a reason for why you want to create the project and the goal should be able to better another person’s life (Kristen). My advice would to have a fun and a passion for what you are doing because if you lack the passion for your project certain aspects of it will be lacking. Make sure to understand the people that will be impacted by your project and to not be afraid to ask for help from others (Ariel).

Team Invitations
Details - Public
Details - Video
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Reflect - Comments
Thank you for visiting our public page! We all want to say thank your for everyone in the community, especially our parents and South High School for the support throughout that last 6 months as we have tirelessly tried to make this project happen. While this project may have come to a close, our efforts to create more opportunities for marginalized youth will never end until we see true equality. Thanks again, from the WTLC 2019 Team.
Comment Date
Wed, 06/19/2019 - 14:18
Topic Tags
Interview - Who
one inner city high schooler, one youth program director, one adult head of a grant making panel