Over 70 students from Alameda County high schools assembled at Laney College on May 3 for the first annual Youth Action Summit, a gathering intended to inspire hope and promote activism among students from widely diverse communities.
The expressed purpose of the event, according to event organizer Shamia Sandles, was "to bring young people together to have open conversations about how the Alameda County Office of Education's values can support youth in our communities."
All of the students are involved in internships that partner with ACOE "to make communities safer, healthier, and more equitable." Internships include garden mentoring to promote and teach community gardening practices, and Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) to train youth in community-based research, team building, data gathering, and presentations for community improvement.
Workshops at the Youth Action Summit included silk screening positive messages on t-shirts, a tour of Laney's community gardens, mindfulness and de-stressing, herbal medicines, and a "YPAR Share-Out" in which students shared their research projects with one another.
One group shared how they visited a homeless tent city in Emeryville, interviewed residents there, and witnessed the aftermath of a fire that destroyed several tents.
"It showed me how hard life is for them," one young woman reported, whose group went on to organize a food distribution project for the residents.
One of the most popular events of the Summit was a dinner preparation workshop in which students prepared healthy salads and food for the entire group while Laney catered the hot portions of dinner.
The community meal was, in fact, the crowning event of the evening as students ate together, and shared ideas on how to support their communities.
They also listened to youth and adult speakers, including Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe, who spoke about her own journey in becoming an elected official.
"You don't have to be the most confident person to effect change in your communities," she said. "You just need a team around you. If your team is on your side, they're going to help you when you stumble. You just have to take the next step, and the next step after that. You have incredible power."
► View photos of the Youth Action Summit, May 3, 2017
► View photos from San Leandro High School's Period of Peace Assembly
Our Youth Action programs support the leadership of our young people through authentic interactive programs in Civic Engagement, Career Pathways, Health & Wellness, and School Climate.
Youth Action Focus Areas
The Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is a youth-centered, youth-directed group of students who address health-related issues. YAB members are in grades 9-12 and represent multiple Alameda County schools. Learn More
Currently, there are two efforts supporting Pathways to College and Career (P2C&C): Project EAT ( Educate. Act. Thrive.) and Project Pathways. Both programs marry youth development strategies with rigorous standards-based approaches to engage students in youth centered activities and strategies. Learn More
Civic engagement embedded in real life experiences is the heart beat of a healthy democracy. View resources that inform and enlighten students on the power of civic engagement.
Dr. Chris Boynton
Health and Wellness
Pathways to College and Career
Safe & Drug Free Schools