Young Voices in Rhode Island

(Providence, RI) I am here for several meetings. Right now I am with members of Young Voices, a statewide organization that involves teenagers in research and advocacy on school reform. The organization’s homepage displays lots of examples of the members’ formal testimony before state and local boards and committees. Of the 20 young people with me today, almost half have given such testimony. They are practicing how to write and deliver testimony right now, as part of their Leadership Transformation Academy (LTA). They also conduct impressive research on the climate and policies of their schools. Participating with Young Voices is a powerful learning experience for the kids (who are poised and effective–and quick to engage me as an adult visitor); but even more promising is the program’s impact on the school systems of the state.