Help Local Youth Present at Harvard

With your help we can take local Latinx high school and college students from Santa Maria, CA to present their social justice work at the Harvard Graduate School of Education's 16th Annual Alumni of Color Conference.

As we are two local non-profit organizations working with underrepresented and low socio-economic youth in our community, we really don't have the resources to make the trip. Therefore we hope you can find it in your heart to help these amazing and very hard working youth who are getting some well-earned recognition for their service to our underrepresented communities.

- The Opportunity -
The HGSE AOC Conference, which will be held in Cambridge, MA, has invited Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) and Future Leaders of America (FLA) organizers to take some of our young community leaders from the California Central Coast as presenters. This is a huge and unique opportunity for our local Latinx youth to not only share their work at one of the world's leading institution, but to experience, network and connect with fellow youth interested in educational and social justice opportunities nationally. This can really be a life-changing trip for some of our local youth.

- Our Goal -
To take at least 4 local young leaders and 2 staff members to the conference. To achieve this goal funding is needed to cover flights from California and accommodations in the Cambridge, MA area for the 3-day event. If we receive additional funding beyond our goal, we will take more youth to the conference.

- Budget -
Per-person Budget: $1,000 -$1,200 per person

The expenses are calculated roughly as follows (please keep in mind flight tickets and accommodation pricing changes daily, we will do our best to keep expenses to a minimum so we can maximize the number of youth we can take)

1) Flight: $300 - $500 round-trip

2) Accomodations: $200 - $300 for 3 night stay

3) Transportation: $100 - $200 (including to and from Airport, subway/bus fare, etc.)

4) Cultural-Educational Expenses: $100-$200 (Conference fee, Museum entrance fees, campus tours, etc.)

5) Food: $100- $200

- Thank You! -
On Behalf of our CAUSE, FLA & our youth leaders we would like to thank you for your consideration and support. If you are not able to donate at this time, please share with your friends and colleagues. Thank you and si se puede!

The Following is additional information about what the youth will be presenting on and continue to fight for here in Santa Maria, CA.

After a wave of violence affecting youth in the city of Santa Maria, CA,  the city received government funding to address the issue and create "The Mayor's Task Force on Youth Safety." However, after the conservative Mayor handpicked the task force members herself, many community members and even the County Grand Jury were left wondering why the Mayor and City Council left out community organizations, parents and most importantly, the youth themselves! This is why local youth from CAUSE, FLA and other local non-profit organizations have been organizing, leading and fighting for youth representation in a city where conservative Council members have chosen to exclude them from the very issues that affect their everyday lives.

These efforts lead to youth organizing our city's first ever Youth-Led Town Hall which saw the participation of over 100 local youth and the attendance of another 50 parents and community members. However adults were asked to only be observers on the sidelines, so they can appreciate how youth tend to be sideline in many of our communities, as well as to allow youth to feel comfortable and truly lead their own important conversations. Our youth have continued to organize their own peers and fight for their representation city wide. This is a local movement open and free to any local youth that continues to provide civic participation and leadership development for youth to be engaged in lifting their own communities.

All the hard work from CAUSE, FLA and our youth gave fruit to a lot of progress. Other key members from the task force took notice and welcomed the youth’s input and ideas, many of which made it to the final city plan. Additionally, while they did not have the authority to include the youth at the table, they now too advocate for our youth and their representation. There is more work to be done, specifically with the Mayor and City Council, but we are happy to report that the task force has taken notice, and opportunities continue to open up for youth across our community.

In our presentation we hope to teach other youth from around the US how we organized in our city and raised our youth to become their own leaders, so that they might create change and leaders in their own communities as well.

For more information regarding CAUSE and FLA please visit our websites:
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Abe Melendrez
Santa Maria, CA

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