As the facilitator for Exploring Leadership, Coro’s summer leadership development program for Bay Area youth, I get to witness high school youth grow more confident as they use their voices, consider new perspectives, and collaborate to impact their communities. I guide them through their work to address pressing issues in their communities and help strengthen their confidence to initiate positive change.
This summer, we welcome 16 Youth Fellows from seven Bay Area cities to our 2020 Exploring Leadership Cohort — or, as they like to refer to themselves, the 2020 CoHeart.
During their first week, the Fellows organized a youth forum on climate change, delivering their project within just 36 hours to Coro alums. Their alumni audience represented multiple graduation years and spanned five youth programs. Here’s what one Youth Fellow said when we asked about a highlight from their experience:
“How easy it was to get know everyone virtually. There was definitely a moment in April after my interview where I started questioning if I am able to be a part of this opportunity, will it be worth it if we’re still in quarantine? The answer is yes! Everyone has just been so awesome to work with!”
Recently, the Youth Fellows interviewed Maria Su, Executive Director of the SF Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families; Larissa J. Estes, Executive Director of ALL IN Alameda County; and Hank Dempsey, Coro board member and the Head of Public Policy – California, for Snap Inc. Fellows are learning how organizations adapt in uncertain times, and have deepened their understanding of how people and organizations make investments in youth.
A special thanks to our Exploring Leadership 2020 professional experience hosts: the Alliance for Community Development, Brightline Defense, Connie Chan for District 1 Supervisor Campaign, and First Republic Bank.
In the weeks to come, the Youth Fellows will organize a Community Action Project focused on supporting BIPOC-owned small businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll keep you updated about how these young people are working to inspire youth and adults to take action — stay tuned!