Young Activist Academy

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Executive Summary

Organizational Overview

Today’s Youth & Young Adults

Issues & Opportunities

Vision Blueprint

Timetable & Budget

Executive Summary

Not a day goes by without hearing or seeing a negative story about young people in the news. Young gang members running drugs. 15-year old boys sentenced to life for homicide. Promising college student arrested and sentenced for drug possession. Teenage girl contracts HIV. Teenage boy is bullied at school and commits suicide.

These stories are all too familiar to the six o’clock news. Our culture and the tragic events occurring today reflect the harsh realities of young people with broken lives attempting to survive in a broken culture.  Something must be done to end the vicious cycle. We must teach a new way of life and tell a new story if the next generation is to survive and thrive.  As a society, if we are looking for solutions then we must first ask the right questions. 

The purpose of this Vision Blueprint is to provide an overview of the social concerns, vision, strategy, service offerings and immediate programs for Youth Move(YM) and a new core program, Young Activist Academy.

The desired outcome of this proposal is to require all YM members to develop and go thru Young Activist Academy, launch and execute a proof of concept pilot for NAN Youth Move which enables the next generation of social change agents.

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Organizational Overview

Youth Move is a Program of National Action Network an organization engaged in social justice advocacy, education and outreach programs for urban and at-risk and young people ages 11-22.  Headquartered are located in Atlanta, Georgia.

YM provides a voice and a vehicle for the next generation of social change agents. YM’s target audience youth from culturally diverse backgrounds who have not been encouraged nor had the means to tap into their potential for leadership.  Youth Move has chapters in several states.


Our mission is to create the next generation of social change agents.


We envision a cadre of young activist, working to ensure social justice for all

Goal 1: Educate | Youth Development

Enable the next generation of youth activism and progressive social change by meeting the holistic development needs of youth leaders through education, mentoring and community organizing. 

Goal 2: Empower | Youth Capacity

Develop and deploy a holistic framework for social justice organizing with the capacity, resources and tools to position young people as agents of social change.

Goal 3: Engage | Youth Organizing

Demonstrate the power of youth actively engaged in changing our world and solving problems in the areas of education, violence prevention and other social justice issues.


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Millennia’s: The Big Picture
Today’s Youth & Young Adults

  • GEN Y – Born between 1976 & 1991 (18 – 35 years old)
  • 80 million strong – largest generation in history (26% of U.S. population)
  • Most ethnically diverse generation in history (40% people of color)
  • 33% born to single/unwed mothers
  • Spending power exceeds $200 billion
  • 34% are parents; 21% are married
  • 1 in 5 are college graduates



“I want my peers to know that they don’t have to wait to be great.
They can be great now!”



  • GEN Z – Born between 1991 & 2011 (Birth – 17 years old)
  • Children of Generation X and older Generation Y
  • 23 million strong and growing
  • High dependency on technology/shorter attention spans
  • Speed & connectivity critical; instant gratification
  • Natural community organizers; grew up with technology
  • enabled social communities (digital natives)

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Millennia’s: The Big Picture
Issues & Opportunities

Collectively considered the Millennia’s, Generation Y and Z face unprecedented cultural and civic decay, amidst constant assaults on their individuality, growth and development, education, and hopes for economic security.

40% of Millennia’s are unemployed or underemployed in America (highest in 3 decades)
36 million jobs must be created in the next decade to fix soaring U.S. youth unemploymentScreen Shot 2013-12-03 at 11.37.50 AM

7 out 10 girls have sex before high school graduation

1 in 4 U.S. teen girls have sexually transmitted infections

1 million teenage pregnancies occur each year (highest in industrialized world)

Only 33% of young mothers graduate from high school

Only 1% earn a college degree by 30

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 11.53.14 AM

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Vision Blueprint


Activist academy will be Youth Move’s primary youth development program designed to educate and empower young activists with the sensibilities, skills and competencies needed to usher in the next generation of progressive social change.



  • Life & Survival Skills – Help young people navigate from adolescence to young adulthood through training and education focus on character and skill building 
  • Education for Liberation – Educate young people on key areas affecting social and economic progress including civic/political participation and social justice issues
  • Leadership Development – Enable young people become community leaders through whatever career they choose
  • Community Organizing – Empower young people learn how to make a difference in their communities and society 


  • Capacity Building – Develop and deploy a holistic framework for social justice organizing with the capacity, resources and tools to position young people as agents of social change
  • Mobilization – Mobilize the voice, vision, talents and power of young people through direct action organizing, advocacy, political education and activism
  • Public Awareness – Raise public awareness about the needs of youth leveraging the media and community partnerships 
  • Civic Engagement – Reach, teach and register young voters to be full participants in the political process 


“Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.”
Coretta Scott King

“Activism is my rent for living on this planet.”
~ Alice Walker

Activist Academy is designed to provide a comprehensive foundation for youth and young adults to fully engage in activism, issue advocacy, and community organizing. The Academy will teach the art and science of nonviolent social change.

Youth Move will teach the ABC’s of activism by the numbers – making the journey fun, engaging and as easy as 1-2-3. The active learning curriculum will be based on the premise that an activist cannot be completely effective if they do not have the proper foundation to address the problems. Core to the educational offering will be a focus on what it takes to be an activist/community organizer.

The Academy will include opportunities for experiential learning, including small group discussions, projects, presentations and debates, peer critiques, team projects, service learning, field experiences, developing simulations and case method approaches. The Academy will also develop learning communities – small groups of young people who will discuss and analyze the learning. Utilizing this two-pronged approach will leverage hands-on activities and service learning to compliment the learning styles of Generation Y and Z.


The Youth Move will provide core education to Youth Move’s membership that will enable them to as fully competent activists and community organizing in their area of interests. In addition, to foundational skills, additional subjects will be covered to ensure a well-rounded activist and community organizer. During the course of the training, youth will:

  • Empower young people to voluntarily adopt new behaviors beneficial to themselves and society
  • Identify those issues they consider most critical in their community
  • Design an action strategy that will involve others in having a positive impact on these issues, and
  • Implement the strategy

In addition to teaching young activist the art and science of activism and community organizing, Youth Move activists will learn other core social and character development competencies to aide them in transitioning from adolescence/early adulthood in a more self-sufficient, self-reliant, an community focused. In this way, Academy graduates will shift from me-centered to other-centered. Examples of possible service offerings include classes on:

  • Self and Society
  • Servant Leadership
  • The Power of Transformative Love
  • Social and Character Development
  • Nonviolence/Conflict Resolution
  • Digital and Media Literacy/ Digital Citizenship

In addition to core, The Academy will offer specialized service-learning opportunities covering a wide range of social justice issues.

For example, if a young activist is interested in advocating for economic justice, they must first be financially literate personally in order to be more effective in bringing about change in society at large. 


If an activist is interested in community organizing about healthcare, they must first understand and practice holistic and prevent health and wellness individually; and have a solid grasp of the challenges facing equitable healthcare for all.


he National YM Director provides national leadership and direction to the YM leadership, programmatically and administratively coordinates state chapter Presidents activities and programs. The Youth Director plans national initiatives statewide and/or multi-city events and activities.  The Youth Director provides statewide programmatic leadership and administrative and operational support for YM; fosters team building with teams of academic peers, youth professionals, volunteers, youth and other cooperators; and serves as liaison between the College coordinators, Regional directors, Chapter Presidents and various internal and external stakeholder groups.

The Parent Council: functions as an official support group to YM to raise funds on behalf of statewide and local priority YM needs.

Youth Move National Council: is comprised of Chapter Presidents, Regional Directors and College coordinators. It is the responsibility of the Council to identify, screen, select, train and support the National mission and vision of National Action Network.

Youth Members: Membership engages youth in a range of age appropriate activities that lead to the development of leadership, citizenship and life skills. Youth are involved in positive, meaningful, respectful relationships with adult volunteers that help youth to master skills and competencies and enhance independence. To participate in YM you must complete Activist Academy, youth must complete the required enrollment form.


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