What is YG?
Young Governors is a youth organizing program model that hires and trains teens to be Community Organizers and address issues in their community. The program was created by Delia Kim and meets at New Life Community Development Corporation (NLCDC) in Elmhurst, Queens. The program started in Spring 2011.
Through this program model, youth will be seen as the vehicles for change in the community, instead of the problem, as is often the case in today’s society. They will be empowered to be the advocates, organizers, and educators among their peers through workshops, projects, and service. The goal of the program is to identify and train youth leaders in the community and support the work of these youth to make positive changes in their community. Young Governors goes beyond youth development practices with collective empowerment techniques of youth organizing, striving for systemic change.
Why do YGs get paid for helping their community?
The teens are paid by stipend because we want to validate the important work that they are doing in the community. For most of them, this is their first source of personal income. The benefit to a stipend is that you don’t need to have legal status to receive it, as was the case for some of our teens. Also, it is low enough that it is not motivation enough for money to be the main reason to join. The stipend is $250 per quarter each. This comes to around $5 per meeting and $2 per hour. It ends up being even less than that for many, because they tend to put in extra time beyond what is expected in between meetings and volunteering in other programs on their own time.
But as little as it is, most of the teens in the program need the money. And they are learning to be financially responsible at the same time. We teach them about budgeting and saving and making good choices when it comes to money.
Who leads YG?
In 2013, Delia stepped aside to let the teens take more leadership in the program. The compensation that she used to get for running the program will now go to them, since they will be doing most of the work that she was doing. Her focus will be on leadership development, training, and fundraising.
Who can attend the training?
We have opened our training this year to all teen applicants. They will do a full month of training, 3 days a week, before we make our selections. This will expose more teens to the skills learned in the trainings.
Can I still be involved if I am not accepted into the program?
Teens that do not make the program will be invited to participate as Young Volunteers, which can engage more teens with lower commitment.
How can I help?
Would you consider supporting a future Young Governors stipend? To hire all 15, we need…
5 people to donate $1000 to fund a full stipend (comes to less than $100 a month)
10 people to donate $500
20 people to donate $250
Any amount of support helps and you can set up automatic monthly support here-
To donate, go to http://newlifecdc.us/donate/ways-to-give/
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-Delia Kim, Founder and Director, Young Governors Program