Help Us Empower San Diego’s Youth
Youth Will is a volunteer organization offering access to opportunities – especially to low income and disadvantaged youth – to succeed and thrive.
The future we are fighting for is only possible if youth leaders take action and adult allies support their efforts. This is your chance to create the change we need.
With your support, we organized the Youth Recreation Environment Corps and coordinated the county’s dedication of $1 million toward youth employment opportunities in community food gardens, wildlife protection efforts, urban biodiversity initiatives, and other green efforts.
We worked with the city to put another $250,000 into youth employment at recreational centers, with your support. And we worked with the county too, employing youth to distribute COVID sanitation supplies and economic advocacy to underserved communities.
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Youth Will Gives a Voice and Venue to a Younger Demographic
Youth Will is a community based organization located in San Diego, CA, that was founded as the Youth Development Office of San Diego in 2012. Our mission is to create a more equitable future for every individual under the age of 25 through community organizing, grassroots advocacy, and political reform. Very community oriented, Youth Will:
- Has created a Youth Bill of Rights
- Encompasses a number of different action teams lead by people under the age of 25.
- Is focused on areas important to San Diego’s youth like housing, healthcare, environment, helping youth find gainful employment.
- Develops policy priorities from their action teams and advocates for youth at the city and county level.
- Offers a paid internship program (that also includes college credits) to manage action teams and help with the general operation of the foundation.
- Offers Resource Ambassadors who communicate with youth in low income areas and help them build a better future.
- Does not provide direct services – they are not a service provider. Youth Will’s focus is on organizing and advocacy.
- Offers a “Gov 101” course which teaches young people more about the workings of government.
- Allows youth to become involved with the San Diego Workforce Partnership where they can take basic life skills courses (resume writing, typing, skill development, etc)
Rooted in San Diego
In 2006, worried about and heartbroken over a spike in youth violence, the San Diego community gathered with a goal to work together better for our children. Led by the work of the San Diego Organizing Project, they identified the catalyst of the tragedy: slashed funding for youth programs and services. Then, the elected officials, community organizers, committed public servants, religious leaders and parents created a plan they believed would bring a better future for San Diego.
The group knew re-establishing funding was only a piece of the solution. Their plan included a Youth Development Office (YDO) that would be devoted to making youth a priority by creating an integrated system that would protect children and youth from being the victims the next time the city faced financial struggles. The YDO would also ensure that the various perspectives and approaches in the county coordinated to support San Diego’s youth.
After years of hard work and advocacy, the establishment of the YDO was set in motion. It would be an office within the City of San Diego with the power to coordinate collaboration for policy development and service provision. Sadly, despite getting very close, the YDO never came to be within the City of San Diego. However, that does not mean good work was not done. The first iteration of the YDO helped set in motion a regional initiative to lower the rate of youth who are not working or in school. Learn more about the San Diego Youth Opportunity Pathways Initiative.