YWP’s work is guided by a deep respect and love of the youth we work with, and a commitment to building youth power, ending oppression, and practicing adult-youth partnership. The innovation and power of our work comes from our willingness to embrace and document the details of youth oppression and then to identify and go after the people with the power to change those realities. As an organization who is also overambitious, underfunded, and dealing with entrenched bureaucracies, inadequate youth services, and dire conditions for the youth we work with – making progress has required sticking to our values, developing our own rules – and a whole lot of pluck.
YWP is guided by these values:
- Understanding: Commitment to understanding and responding to the needs of youth and conditions of their lives
- Power: Belief in the power and capacities of youth and their ability to be leaders; commitment to building the power of young people.
- Love: Commitment to show support, deep respect, and have high expectations for the youth we work with
- Justice: Commitment building a more just society and to ending sexism, racism, ageism, classism, heterosexism, religious spiritual intolerance, and other forms of oppression.
- Voice: Belief in the importance of youth discovering their voices, articulating and valuing their own opinions and learning to make themselves heard by others.
- Equity: Commitment to feminist practice, centering work on marginalized people’s experiences, working to meet the needs of the underserved and under resourced.
- Partnership: Commitment to practicing youth-adult partnership at all levels of our own organization and engaging them at the highest level of community decision making.
- Growth: Commitment to self-reflection, examination, growth, and constructive conflict.
- Access: Commitment to guiding youth through systems, making sure systems are accessible to youth.
- Responsibility: We are responsible for all of the youth in this community.