In early 2015 A. Philip Randolph Institute, in partnership with city agencies such as Department of the Environment, SF PUC, and Neighborhood Empowerment Network, launched a youth leadership pilot programs that became known as Resilient Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA). The RYLA program engaged 10 Bayview youth leaders in an intensive 8 week capacity-building opportunity emphasizing professional skill-building and increased awareness of the role young people play in civic leadership. RYLA youth leaders further developed their capacity as community leaders by learning about how climate change acts as an environmental community stressor in Bayview. Using the professional and civic skills and knowledge, youth developed sustainable mitigation plans to combat the negative future impacts of climate change as it effects their community.
Developing professional and civic skills, learning about the impacts of climate change on urban communities, and developing sustainable mitigation plans to combat this issue are all play into the long-term goal of the RYLA program which to facilitate in the process of setting Bayview youth on a career path that will position them to remain active and effective leaders in the Bayview community.
1. All RYLA youth voluntarily participated in evaluation processes to measure the impact and effectiveness of the program on youth participants.
2 Participants were able to identify issues about climate change that was not evident in their everyday news or immediate environment. For example, it is perhaps not common knowledge to a young person that an “evacuation plan” is immediately linked to the effects of climate change. Therefore it seems evident that participants gained in-depth knowledge about the factors and possible impacts on climate change as it relates to their specific community.
3. Participants’ self-identified new skills and leadership characteristics typically aligned with those attributed to community leaders.
4. Upon the completion of the RYLA program, a majority of participants self-identify as community leaders.