YODJ: Youth Online
Discussing Justice

The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t altered EYEJ’s mission to drive social justice reform by empowering young people to advocate for change. The program is executed virtually through a program called YODJ: Youth Online Discussing Justice. Our program affords public school students the chance to meet regularly with trained professionals to engage on a wide array of practical topics in a judgment-free setting. At this time, EYEJ has a relationship with 27 schools and 5 recreation centers in Cleveland.

Youth Online Discussing Justice connects students in grades 6 through 12 with the necessary resources for day-to-day life and professionals trained in emotional learning development. Guests, including local community members, peers, and any one of EYEJ’s 900 other volunteers, meet with students in a safe, intimate setting that encourages honesty on difficult subjects. Of the over 1,600 participants in the program to date, 65 percent have reported learning about social justice issues for the first time, and 45 percent have promised to employ that new awareness in their everyday lives.

The 10-week YODJ program consists of seven weeks in discussion and three weeks in a “Reflection Event.” The most recent “Reflection Event” was a Photo Display Project. Five students impressed the public with an exhibition of photographs about toxic stress, self-esteem, body image, poverty, and Cleveland’s ongoing Digital Divide.

Topics

Toxic Stress
Achieving a Positive Mindset
Conflict Resolution
Invest In Your Future
Mental Health
Exploring Money
Community Asset Mapping
Photography
Exploring Violence
Power to Storytell
Civil Rights
Stress and its Trigger
The Roots and Branches of Community Issues
Race and Justice
Education
Power & Privilege
Healthy Eating
Equality
Police Youth Relationships
Digital Literacy
Photography Reflection Project

Impact

74
Felt valued and appreciated by others
93
Agreed they learned something in the Discussion Series

Youths agreed that the Discussion Series conversations help them:

82
During School
80
Outside of School
72
With Friends
62
With Teachers
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Apply to be a Facilitator, Speaker or Coordinator for YODJ: Youth Online Discussing Justice

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