The Perrin Family Foundation just released this new report: A New Role for Connecticut Youth/Leaders of Social Change. The Perrin Family Foundation, a long-time benefactor of Carver Youth Voice initiatives, included two Carver high school students in the making of this report, Marcus and Tomar.
Letter from the President
As we witness the growing call for social justice across America in the areas of immigration,
health care, education, and gay rights, it is increasingly apparent that this call does not always
include the voice of young people, on whose lives these issues have the greatest immediate
impact. Too often, adults create agendas and engage in dialogue about the issues without
the input of those who are most capable of providing firsthand feedback and leadership.
Often, youth are regarded as part of the problem, and they are given little opportunity to
develop skill sets that allow them to be part of the solution. Youth development programs
rarely include efforts to develop the social-political competency and encourage the collective
agency of marginalized youth. The active engagement of youth is essential for the healthy
development of our young people and our communities.
During the past year, our foundation designed a strategic plan for determining how best
to advance youth-led social change within Connecticut. In order to better understand the
statewide climate for this work, the Perrin Family Foundation, in partnership with the Funders’
Collaborative on Youth Organizing, participated in a nine-month process, convening focus
groups, and interviewing youth, youth practitioners, funders, and scholars throughout the
state. Our purpose was
• to determine the statewide perception of youth-led social change;
• to identify where and how Connecticut youth are organizing for social justice;
• and to assess the climate for further developing the field.
The resulting report presents a broad picture of youth-led social change work in Connecticut.
Although it reveals a striking lack of existing programming, it presents an encouraging picture,
as there is a strong desire that more be done. Our foundation is committed to the concept
of youth organizing and its importance in creating social change, and this data provides a
framework that will focus our efforts—efforts that must include partner organizations as we
work to support youth as leaders of social change in Connecticut.
We in the state have an exciting opportunity to build on the power of youth-adult partnerships.
We hope that this report and our grantmaking strategy will have a powerful impact on existing
youth-led social change groups and also help nurture and develop new groups in the future.
We encourage you to join with the Perrin Family Foundation in this exciting and important work.