An exchange of experience and learning from the field of youth leadership development and organizing

To begin, young people within the foster care system demonstrate their personal resilience in myriad ways. The
foster care system recognizes and supports this resilience through the facilitation of youth peer advocacy, life
skills training, public awareness campaigns, and advising structures. An increasing practice of numerous
institutions, agencies, organizations, and programs is to cultivate and employ young people in foster care as
advocates and/or ambassadors for community organizing efforts. These positions of leadership are dynamic;
responding to an organization’s needs and evolving with input from a larger community including recipients of
services. This newly emerging organizational design emphasizes an escalating process and universal standard of
equal partnership between young people as experiential leaders and leading child welfare practitioners from the
field to the boardroom. This partnership is co-constructed in four patterns of engagement:
 Engagement in an initial dialogue to support learning interests while operating in a new and
continuously changing environment
 Co-development of a plan to produce desired collective results while also progressing toward individual
personal goals
 Establishment of a shared understanding of how perspective and attitude shape action and decision-
making both inside and outside of work (Coaching as supervision)
 Team and supervisory check-ins via shared journaling for learning and acknowledgement of action steps
related to phases of training and coaching
Strategic thinking and possible approaches
Cultivating young people as equal partners of organizational efforts and paradigm shifts involves adopting a
knowledge-base and lean methodology that utilizes the following:
 Organizational awareness and team sensibilities
 Attitudes of collective intelligence and shared awareness of core beliefs in an organization
 New skills and capabilities that heighten individual aspiration and build capacity for team reflection and
 An inclusive conception of the components that make up the organization
Moving forward…
I am preparedly interested in the new fieldwork that the Department is embarking on with the development of
the Community Umbrella Agencies. The Department is uniquely positioned to stimulate new ideas and guiding
principles within the provider agency network and the community at large. We have an opportunity to co-
construct a larger learning infrastructure which can set the stage for city-wide commitment and collaboration to
respond to the issues and crises that children, youth, and families face in Philadelphia. I view my field
experience and study of youth organizing as a primer, and look forward to being of service to your
organization’s mission. I truly believe that young people are our trail blazing partners in all transformative
efforts within the community and for resource governing entities. It is my mission to co-develop young people
as coachable and reliable resources to their families and community at large.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to negotiating a plan of collaboration.