YWP programs move young people from A all-the-way to Z. This is a vast distance of hard work and capacity building, behavior change, and resource identification where they find support, overcome obstacles, and maintain motivation and hope in an incredibly bleak world.
All YWP programs start with self-interest – youth who are trying to change their lives, find a job, get support, connect to services, find friends, youth seeking opportunity, and youth who want to improve their communities. They come to us. We go to them.
As a youth-development based program, YWP programming values youth as assets, involves them as partners rather than clients, and offers engaging activities that builds competence that is physical, social, cognitive, vocational, and moral.
YWP’s training curricula (based on Paulo Freire’s method) is learner-centered, transformation-oriented, and helps learners identify and solve problems. Interactive sessions support learners to identify problems and needs, share expertise, analyze, build capacity, and take action.
YWP training is hands-on, interactive, and draws on the work of Kolb, Dewey, and Piaget. Our approach the whole learning wheel-- from goal setting, to experimenting and observing, to reviewing, and finally action planning. YWP learning environments are fun, with plenty of laughter and respect for the learner's abilities.
Many of our youth are experiencing personal traumas on a regular basis and require counseling and social service intervention. Although it is our official job to develop them as leaders, advocates, educators – our unofficial job is as case workers, educational advocates, and to make sure they have food, housing, and safety.
YWP programs challenge and support youth to build strength, take on challenges, and make positive changes in their lives. YWP staff provide guidance to and support youth to manage stress and adversity and nurture the belief that their lives are important.
YWP offers tools and opportunities to develop and take leadership. Our youth leaders understand root causes and systems of oppression, are committed to problem solving and conflict resolution, are accountable to their teams, and motivated by the public good.
Young people need knowledge, skills, attitudes to take on the challenges they and their communities face. YWP programs include dozens of capacity building blocks which are shared through youth and adult let interactive training.
Positive peer role modeling and support are essential to reducing stress and enhancing youth well-being. Through Peer Support Circles, peer education, and peer training, YWP youth offer resources, empathy, problem solving, and support to each other.
YWP is an organization founded by young women, grounded in young people’s experience and needs, and dedicated to nurturing their leadership and building their power. Youth work side-by-side adults on our Board of Directors, Staff, and advisory boards
Everything at YWP starts with a needs assessment. Whether it’s a personal problem or a failing system, getting to the root cause of the problem and connecting the leaves to the branches to the trunk and roots is first essential step toward building a sustainable solution.
YWP youth participants build skills in financial resource analysis, human authority, social, political, and economic conditions, and city-and national-level governance structures. They rely on the chain of command to resolve personal problems and move campaign issues.
Give a woman a fish and she will eat for a day. Teach a woman to fish and she will eat for a lifetime. Everything we do at YWP, we teach our youth to do, and they teach and engage their peers. This principal guides our peer education, youth organizing, and our training.
Like the advocacy born of Jane Addams and the settlement house movement, our youth advocates are part of the systems they seek to change. This gives us an important view of the underside of DC youth service delivery – which informs our advocacy, research, and curricula.
YWP integrates many elements of community organizing into our campaign work including: identifying targets, recruiting and developing members, and working to address oppressive systems.
Through our testimony, field assessments, and youth-led social media, YWP works to hold our public and youth-service leaders accountable to youth and ensuring responsible resource use, high quality programming, needs-based services, and opportunities for DC youth.
Ultimately, the process of building youth power and leadership in the field, in large numbers is the only sustaining approach to systems change. YWP strives to create a movement of youth who are accountable to their communities and motivated by individual integrity and a sense of the public good.