The Center for Sustainable Futures, with support from the Arthur Zankel Urban Fellowship, developed the Youth At The Center (YATC) program in Fall 2020. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure all youth, regardless of background, have the opportunity to engage with the most pressing issue of our time: climate change. To realize this purpose, the Center aims to partner with New York City youth climate activists to empower, support, and amplify their activities.
This year our aim is to build meaningful infrastructure in the youth climate activism community. A challenge we have identified is a lack of continuity in student efforts due to the influx nature of graduation in student-run activist communities. This project aims to create a virtual repository of the voices and stories of the Climate Movement in NYC Public Schools. The goal of this project is to create a snapshot in time of stories and resources for future students to utilize long after these voices have graduated. These stories will serve as a bridge from the youth in the movement today to the future youth in the movement tomorrow. We hope that future YATC work will use these stories to formulate action on a local and state level. This project is being developed by our YATC facilitators, NYC youth climate activists, and students taking their first steps into the movement through a virtual internship opportunity.
YATC Storytelling Project Coming Soon: 2022
We immersed middle school students with no previous activism experience in climate action with climate experts and experienced youth climate activists. Students completed a project by the end of this program to communicate to their peers an aspect of the climate movement. These projects were presented in a virtual end of the year showcase in Spring 2021.
We engaged NYC youth climate activists with a research project to understand how K-12 students think about climate change and the activism opportunities available to them. We used the findings from this research project to facilitate meaningful interactions between youth activists and local policymakers at a meeting on June 5th, 2021.