Individual applications to join the EYEJ Youth Council are due July 12, 2020.
“We cannot charge the future, if we are not plugged into the present.”EYEJ Youth Council’s statement
on current events and our immediate focus
June 19, 2020
In 2017, hailing from all across Cleveland, 19 youths ages 15-25 applied, interviewed, and were selected to be part of EYEJ’s Youth Council. The purpose of this group was for these youth to have a place to assemble to brainstorm solutions to issues, injustices, and challenges that they and other youth in their community faced. The Youth Council originally partnered with a Partnership for A Safer Cleveland and received funding from the Larry Doby Youth Fund through the Cleveland Indians. Through a customized and intensive process the Youth Council members were taught leadership, public speaking, teamwork, research, policy, programming, and fundraising skills. The Youth Council focused on creating positive change in programming and policy making in Cleveland on issues pertaining to Toxic Stress, Police/Youth Relationships, and Youth Independency (Life Skills). In April of 2018, the EYEJ Youth Council premiered a unique presentation that included data, research, and storytelling to Chief Calvin Williams of the Cleveland Police, other Cleveland Police Commanders, and members of the Cleveland Indians along with over one hundred civic, sports, and business leaders. Included in this presentation, which asked for a total of $140,000, the Youth Council expressed the desire to continue to work to implement the proposed recommendations in a proactive approach in such a way to not only help youth in Cleveland but to set them up for greater life success.
In the summer of 2018, the Youth Council was represented in 14+ media/press appearances by organizations such as Plain Dealer, WKYC, IdeaStream and more. The Youth Council also conducted additional presentations for the U.S. Attorney General of Northeast Ohio (STANCE) meeting event, the Cleveland Police Commision yearly event and many many more. Members of the Youth Council were also invited by Sherrod Brown to visit Washington DC, in which they had the opportunity to meet many government dignitaries with whom to share their work.
Since the presentation in April of 2018, approx. $20,000 was funded through Tegna Foundation and individual donors. With this money, the EYEJ Youth Council focused on the recommendations received at their presentations, in order to help with building awareness of the issue topic areas that affect Cleveland youth.
In 2019, The EYEJ Youth Council conducted the following:
This summer the Youth Council is shifting its focus to the topic of digital connectivity. Due to the recent coronavirus pandemic, it has become evident that many families do not have access to the resources that would allow them to sustain healthy and productive lifestyles, with African American families being disproportionately affected by these issues. Connectivity issues are extremely harmful when it comes to education, as many children do not have the proper resources to participate in remote learning and therefore are unable to receive sufficient education during this time. Two-thirds of children in the Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD) do not have appropriate e-learning devices and of the 38,000 students and 27,000 families in the CMSD, 40% of those families do not have access to broadband internet. Without proper education, the academic and life success of Cleveland youth will be greatly inhibited.
The Youth Council’s goal for this summer is to assist in achieving broadband accessibility and internet connectivity throughout the Cleveland area, through programming and policy implementation (see Objectives list below). The fundraising goal of the Youth Council is to raise $20,000 to help support the campaign and to further development and research on connectivity in Cleveland. Of the $20,000 raised, $12,000 will be given as stipends to the Youth Council for their contribution to the connectivity project. All fundraising events are associated with the Empower Campaign. The Campaigns effort is focused to target audiences around the nation, primiparity the youth, to receive donations.
EYEJ’s progress with regard to these objectives will be measured both qualitatively and quantitatively. Feedback will be collected from Youth Council members and stakeholders on a regular basis, helping to gauge the impact the Youth Council is having on 1) the self-efficacy of its members and 2) the perceptions that stakeholders have of youth as civic leaders.