We are calling on all young residents of Fort Bend County to help plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize for true policy change and reform. Our issues are only becoming more complex and numerous, which is why we need the next generation of community leaders, you, to define the years to come. As the future leaders of our community, we need your help to work collectively to identify major issues, develop plans, and work with stakeholders to achieve progress. From reforming policies, such as use of force, to increasing youth voter registration and much more, this is the time to get involved.
The Fort Bend Youth Leadership Council will be run by the chosen applicants with support from many of their local elected officials, community and faith leaders, and all those who can provide resources to support this council's mission.
All high school students of Fort Bend County are eligible to apply. Please consider the program’s structure and initiatives as you complete your application. Be sure to share this exciting opportunity with your peers.
50 students of the applicant pool will be selected based on qualifications, experience, and an interest in advocacy. Students will be divided into groups of 10 based on interest and experiences. Each group will be paired with 3-5 professional mentors. These mentors are local community leaders that have previously included college professors, state representatives, and county officials. Additionally, each group will have a Group Facilitator that will be responsible for promoting conversations with higher authorities, checking in on progress, and providing professional suggestions.
The program is divided into 3 phases: planning, proposals, and progress.
Phase One: Planning
In this phase, students are introduced to the program, their fellow group peers, and professional mentors. Students then work together to identify an issue of their choice to focus on throughout the program. Following identification, students will brainstorm solutions for the chosen issue and create an outline for an application of this solution to Fort Bend County and beyond. Students then collect data on their issue of choice, converse with local professionals already working in their area of interest and develop evidence-based practices to advocate for change. Weekly meetings also include speakers from across the county discussing their work in Fort Bend and interacting with student leaders.
Phase Two: Proposals
Following the collection of research and data, students will formally create a plan of action to advocate for innovative solutions pertaining to their topic of interest. Students will then identify stakeholders who can spark change on this issue. Proposals identify the problem, resources needed to combat the problem, request action, showcase evidence of the problem, provide the potential impact of their solutions, identify risks or considerations, and invite their community members to join them in tackling the issue. Finally, students present the proposal to a board of stakeholders, who are hand selected by pertaining to each individual problem of interest. This provides students with the platform and network of professionals in order to cultivate change throughout the county.
Phase Three: Progress
Following the formal proposal, students will update their action timelines, consider feedback from stakeholders, and submit an updated plan of advocacy. Rather than weekly meetings, students convene with stakeholders and mentors on a monthly basis to discuss progress and share their findings with the group. Students are supported by the County Judge’s Office with monthly newsletters, connections, and more. Finally, all work will finalize into an official report to recall the student’s hard work and progress. Reports will detail the timeline, members, stakeholders, initiatives, action, data, and future action. After the submission of the report, students graduate from their class of the Youth Leadership Program and continue advocating with their group in the avenues they choose to. Select students are nominated for county internships where they receive a special recommendation and access to a select list of opportunities. Students who successfully complete the program are invited to a recognition ceremony with Judge KP George where they receive their certificate of completion.
Rules & Expectations:
The Youth Leadership Program is a 9-month commitment. The first 3 months of the Youth Leadership Program include meetings held weekly on Tuesday nights from 6-7:30 PM. The next 6 months of the Youth Leadership Program are held on the second Tuesday of each month from 6-7:30 PM. Students are expected to communicate with their groups on Slack, participate on all projects in an equitable manner, attend all meetings, and conduct themselves professionally. Note that there will be outside work required separate from meetings to make this program and your solutions a success.
50 students are hand-selected from hundreds of applications and are held to an exemplary standard. Students may be removed due to misconduct within or outside of the program, including inappropriate action on social media. Members are expected to attend all meetings without fail. All absences must be communicated to program facilitators. Failure to attend two meetings, excused or unexcused, will lead to removal from the program and the slot will be passed on to the next student in line. This program is a time commitment, we want to honor and respect all applicants; if you cannot commit to this framework, please refrain from applying.
June 13- June 14 - application closes
Students will be notified of their acceptance or rejection by June 16, 2023. Accepted students must formally sign a commitment agreement by June 19, 2023. The introductory meeting will be held Tuesday, June 20, 2023, and will be in an in person setting at this time. Meeting dates will proceed as follows:
All meetings held Tuesdays from 6-7:30 PM unless otherwise noted.
|June 20, 2023||Student Orientation and Understanding Change: Advocacy 101|
|June 27, 2023||Identifying and Issue|
|July 4, 2023||NO MEETING, HOLIDAY WEEK|
|July 11, 2023||Action Planning & Data Collection|
|July 18, 2023||Action Planning & Data Collection|
|July 25, 2023||Action Planning & Data Collection|
|August 1, 2023||Introduction to Proposals and Proposal Tutorial|
|August 8, 2023||Proposal Planning|
|August 15, 2023||Proposal Planning|
|August 22, 2023||Official Proposal Presentations to Stakeholders|
|September 12, 2023||Monthly Action Check-In|
|October 10, 2023||Monthly Action Check-In|
|November 7, 2023||Monthly Action Check-In|
|January 9, 2024||Monthly Action Check-In; Introduce Formal Report Writing|
|February 6, 2024||Monthly Action Check-In; Update on Formal Report|
|March 2024||Formal Report Due; Awards Ceremony|