If you’re passionate about social issues, you have a voice. If you enjoy music, painting, dancing, making videos, or any type of creative expression, you can use your voice for change.

The Social Justice Youth Program seeks to engage young adults in the movement towards an inclusive civil society for all individuals. It is an opportunity for young adults with and without disabilities to learn how their art can be a meaningful tool for change.

Find your unique artistic voice—any medium, any message.

This is a year-long program that kicks off with the Social Justice Youth Summer Camp, followed by monthly meet-ups (which may include a visit to City Hall or an art gallery, meeting with a social activist or presenting your art piece at an event).

Who are the Social Justice Youths?

A group of self-advocates, siblings and friends age 16-25 who envision a better tomorrow for everyone.

focus of the program

Address issues the youths are most interested in (not just disability). Topics include race, immigration, inequity, sexuality, environmentalism, civil and human rights, animal rights, and lots more. 

Program activities

Volunteering, attending seminars, interactive meetings and a weekend-long summer camp at Portland State University. 

This program requires a year-long commitment

The program kicks off every year with summer camp, followed by monthly meetings. These monthly meet ups may include a visit to city hall or an art gallery, meeting with a social activist or presenting your art piece at an event. All campers will display and/or present their social justice projects at the All Born(in) Conference.

Who can join?

Individuals 16-25 years old who are passionate about a equal and equitable world.

If you are interested in joining the Youth Program, or working with them as a mentor, please get in touch by calling the Resourcefulness Center at (503) 238-0522 or emailing SJYP@abicommunity.org

Article: The kids are alright: the new Social Justice Youth Camp

“Going into this camp, I thought social justice was only about helping people who can’t help themselves…but I learned that it is so much more. In order to create social justice, we have to start with ourselves.” – James, 2016 Social Justice Youth Summer Camp Participant

Our organization has always benefited from the energy and creativity of youth. We’ve never been about only feel-good, inspirational messages—we dig into the dirty work of creating real social change. A big part of that work is nurturing the leadership of the kids growing up in our community, with and without disabilities. Through programs like Dreambuilders and Think College Inclusion Oregon, we enable younger generations to have high expectations for their lives, and support the belief that they have real rights and a voice to lead. Our new Social Justice Youth Program is an innovative collaboration of young adults, with and without disabilities, and leadership mentors within the community focusing on social change. In late August, we hosted an all-inclusive, weekend-long summer camp for fourteen young adults, half of whom experienced disability.

Campers came from different backgrounds and varying racial and gender identities. For two and a half days, they were immersed in interactive art and media workshops led by artists, mentors, activists, and advocates from within the All Born (in) community and beyond.

Campers stayed in dorms at PSU and spent the weekend discussing social issues ranging from racism to equity, LGBTQ rights, immigration, animal rights, climate change, poverty and homelessness, and much more. Campers recognized that all of their peers face challenges, and they explored visual art, music, social media, and dance as modes of expression.

The Camp was the result of the work of Austin Nugent and Rachel Esteve, Camp Co-Directors and ABI staff members, under the leadership and youth development experience of ABI Executive Director Angela Jarvis-Holland. A small grant from the Northwest Health Foundation and the Alan Jarvis Memorial Fund helped make the camp possible.

Austin described the connections formed among campers as “magical and powerful”—the weekend started with 14 diverse individuals, and by Sunday afternoon they were one group united by determination to advocate for social equity. Most of the campers would not have otherwise had the opportunity to connect with individuals outside of their geographic location, socioeconomic status and/or social groups. As the weekend drew to a close and campers posed for a group photo, Rachel felt “empowered and connected” to the group.

Articles About the NWDSA Youth Program

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