A Message from Founding Board Member Alexandria Rice on Youthprise’s 5th Anniversary

Published on July 2, 2015 | Written by

 

A message from a founding Board Director, Alexandria Rice, who studies Social Justice at Hamline University. 

AlexandriaI have volunteered my time and energy to Youthprise since its inception. I was in high school when I walked into my first Youthprise board meeting, a board tasked with creating a new organization focused on changing the landscape for Minnesota youth. Previous to joining the board, I served with other youth on the Saint Paul Youth Commission, working to help youth access transportation so they could attend afterschool activities and programs.

Serving on a board with mostly adults was a very new situation for me. I was encouraged to ask questions so that I could make more informed choices. I began to speak up and my voice was heard. My words were affecting others, as I offered insight to important organizational documents and structures. I started to realize that I could have a real role in this process, and very quickly I came to embrace it!

I continued to serve on the board for 2 years and then helped to develop the first Youth Innovator Collective, a cohort of young people who had summer internships at Youthprise. As a group, we thought very seriously about what we believed would help Minnesota youth thrive. We came up with a series of recommendations, which eventually became the foundation for two current Youthprise initiatives, Change Fellows and YouthBank.

As Youthprise made a commitment to incorporating youth throughout the organization, I’ve seen a number of amazing changes: young people have been brought into all levels of operations and decision-making. A good example of this is the current board structure: the board now has 7 youth directors and every board committee has a youth co-chair and youth committee members as well. It is incredible for Youthprise to do exactly as they said they would: incorporate youth of many different experiences, backgrounds and ages into every facet of Youthprise. This demonstrates Youthprise’s desire to be accountable to the community, to funders who offer support and believe in the Youthprise vision, and to the current and future young people of Minnesota who will have more opportunity to serve their communities.

As someone who has watched Youthprise from the beginning, I am so proud of how far we have come. Witnessing the strength and sustainability of our growing influence on young people, and the programs and systems that serve them, gives me pride in what we’ve achieved. Beyond that, the organizational structure itself has changed to ensure youth/adult partnerships at every point along the way.

I hope you will join me in supporting the work of Youthprise in accelerating leadership and innovation beyond the classroom by making a financial contribution today. With your support – along with the wisdom and ingenuity of youth – we can ensure that all Minnesota youth thrive!

Follow this link to donate today!

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