Youth Organizing , Leadership Development, Racial Justice and Community Organizing
We conduct our programs on an Issue-Based Community Organizing and Leadership Development Model. For example, we:
- Work with student leaders, youth groups, parents and community activists to address issues they are facing in their local schools and districts. Also, address racial equity, racial justice and understand how to address structural racism.
- Ask student leaders to identify the challenges they are facing in schools.
- Train students from ages 14 to 18 in community organizing, structural racism and leadership development.
- Work with parents to navigate schools that challenge them and organize them to address the challenges.
- Learn, together with our students, about how the institutions they are a part of work and how to develop strategic actions to influence these institutions.
- Take strategic actions until we see improvements and changes made.
- Develop work plans and recommendations for the schools/school district to implement that will eliminate structural barriers, provide quality education, and encourage students to succeed.
- Work with students and their parents in order to develop a better understanding of their local school systems, allow them to improve communication with their local schools, and empower them to be influential in the education of their children.
If you are interested in partnering with CrossingBarriers to improve the educational system in your school, click here to contact us.
Of course, it is not only in schools that youth face institutional challenges and barriers. One of our main objectives is to work with youth of color and immigrant students that are committed to improving and empowering themselves and their communities and understand racism to learn how to address it.. There are so many young people that want to be catalysts for change but need support and guidance to nourish and build their leadership skills in order to be effective agents for change in their neighborhood and communities.
CrossingBarriers provides leadership training and experiences for youth that feel voiceless in their schools and community at large. They learn the skills needed to be advocates through participating in projects designed to eliminate community barriers and institutional problems such as police profiling, racism, violence, achievement gap, access to quality services and support in schools and neighborhoods. CrossingBarriers provides space for citizenship development where youth and community members come together to support each other, to discuss and learn about civic and political issues, to learn about civic engagement, and to develop ways to work with the mainstream community to be constructive solution finders. The leadership training is customized for each project and its participants, and the end goal is to prepare students so they can have positive systemic impact and as they are the leaders of tomorrow.
As a result, community activists, high school students, and college students that volunteer in issue based organizing projects learn the root causes of lack of education, poverty, lack of access to resources, and economic instability that face their communities and the long term action needed from the community to overcome. They learn how to address issues such as racism, neighborhood safety, lack of quality education, crime prevention, and steps toward self-empowerment. Volunteers are trained in navigating mainstream political institutions, community organizing and conducting leadership training as project leaders. The youth participants while developing their skills, they also learn how to speak in public, conduct meetings, develop strategic actions, and organize. In addition, we work to support the careers and educational paths our youth leaders and volunteers. We connect and prepare them for internship opportunities that they otherwise may not have been aware of or have had access to. Many of our students feel invisible in mainstream society and are not connected to career programs or internships that will empower their careers. CrossingBarriers provides support to such students and helps them to achieve the goals they set for themselves.
Education Organizing and Advocacy For Parents
One of our main goals at CrossingBarriers (CB) is to work towards improving the quality of education immigrants and students of color receive in our local public schools. We work with parents, and community members whose voices are marginalized and face poverty to address the difficulties they are facing in accessing quality education in the public schools. We strive to eliminate structural exclusion and inequities in education for all students of color in the Twin Cities. We do this through education organizing initiatives such as parents and youth addressing teacher communication, racial tension, high enrollment of students of color in Special Education and English Language Learners Programs without a sound exit strategy.
We provide information and awareness about the barriers to school success for our student population and address these barriers. We work with youth leaders, parents, and community activists to advocate for change – from the local school district all the way to the state institutions – to bring about long-term change and develop educational policies that will eliminate structural exclusion for low-income students. Nourishing young students is the foundation for creating healthy, vibrant and productive communities.
Workshops and Presentations
CrossingBarriers, youth leaders, volunteers and staff are invited to schools, teaching institutions, community gatherings and government agencies to talk about CB’s work addressing the achievement gap, successful cases, model of issue bases and education based organizing, youth organizing and leadership training. Here, CB conducts educational workshops and presentations. The audience learn about current issues facing youth and parents in the public schools and the role they can play as advocates for parents and youth in our public schools.
CrossingBarriers conducts the following presentations and workshops to local schools, teacher training programs, community centers, and student organizations.
- The risks and rewards of advocacy through community partnership.
- Issues in education relating to students of color who are are not succeeding in public schools.
- A child’s right to education.
- Working with ELL students.
- Improving police relations for immigrant youth and students of color.
- Suggestions about working with English Language Learners.
- Public engagement in low-income communities.
- Issues, the need for civic engagement, and advocacy strategies of CrossingBarriers
Each year CB volunteers, students, and staff conduct workshops, presentations, training and reach out each year to 400 to 450 community members, youth, parent, teachers, teaching institutions, service providers and educators.