6 Groups Striving To Make Life Better For Young People

Young people in America face a number of issues, from childhood poverty to discrimination to a legal system that doesn't always treat them fairly. Facing these problems in adulthood is difficult enough, and for kids it can be especially overwhelming. That's why there are organizations like the ones listed here that stand up for youth rights and strive to make life better for children and teenagers. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Organizations Dedicated To Helping Kids & Teens

Organization Location Mission
Campaign for Youth Justice Washington, DC End the practice of prosecuting, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system
Center for Youth Wellness San Francisco, CA Improve the health of children and adolescents exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences
Interfaith Youth Core Chicago, IL Partner with U.S. colleges and universities to make interfaith cooperation a vital part of the college experience, and ultimately a positive force in our society
National Center for Youth Law Oakland, CA Help low-income children achieve their potential by transforming the public agencies that serve them
SMYAL Washington, DC Support and empower LGBTQ youth in the Washington, DC, metropolitan region
National Youth Rights Association Takoma Park, MD Defend the freedom, equality, and rights of all young people by challenging age discrimination and prejudice

5 Young People Who Have Changed The World

  1. Malala Yousafzai: Activist for female education
  2. Elif Bilgin: Invented a banana-based bioplastic as a teenager
  3. Claudette Colvin: Civil rights pioneer in the 1950s
  4. Alex Deans: Created a navigation device for the blind
  5. Anne Frank: German-born Jewish diarist during the Holocaust

Toys & Games That Can Help Kids Learn

Parents who want to help their kids start learning at a young age while still ensuring that they have a fun childhood should consider getting the young ones some educational toys:

Transforming The Lives Of Children

In Depth

The enduring welfare of any community depends on the strength of future generations to maintain it, which is why it's imperative that young people are given the continual support they need to succeed. Fortunately, there are many organizations that strive to make sure this happens by creating social and economic opportunities that galvanize, uplift, and embolden kids of all ages. Focused on education and advocacy, with an emphasis on youth empowerment and justice, here are, in no particular order, six groups committed to improving life for society's youngest members.

For #1 we have the Campaign for Youth Justice. Opened in 2005, C.F.Y.J. is a national initiative dedicated to stopping the prosecution and incarceration of youth under eighteen in the adult criminal justice system. Understanding that racist and exclusionary practices are at the heart of the problem, it addresses institutional oppression and seeks to abolish the laws that perpetuate it. Using both state and federal strategies, it invests in advocacy, policies, and other resources that raise awareness, train and empower those who are impacted, and advance nationwide justice reforms.

C.F.Y.J. reforms the legislature of states by partnering with and providing guidance to their advocates. The group offers this leadership in the form of training support and technical assistance, which includes organizing, research, and outreach projects. On the federal level, it campaigns for policies to help reduce the number of youth who are tried and jailed in the adult system, as well as remove kids who have already been incarcerated. This agenda is furthered through coalitions and proposed regulations to federal programs. If you or anyone you know has been affected by criminal justice policies, share your story with C.F.Y.J. to become a spokesperson for change.

If you or anyone you know has been affected by criminal justice policies, share your story with C.F.Y.J. to become a spokesperson for change.

At #2 is the Center for Youth Wellness, which was created in 2012 to address the public health issue of early childhood adversity. Acknowledging that traumas faced during youth, such as neglect and abuse, can lead to long-term behavioral and health problems, C.Y.W. works to detect and prevent the development of toxic stress before it becomes a danger to children's lives. To do this, it promotes routine pediatric screening, clinical research and activism, and innovative treatment strategies and services for patients and their families.

In partnership with San Francisco's Bayview Child Health Center, C.Y.W. implements a community-based health model that combines primary care with family-oriented behavioral support. Focused on early intervention, the collaboration is designed to identify and treat at-risk children through a host of multidisciplinary services. Utilizing myriad forms of advocacy to educate both professionals and the public, the group strives to build a nationwide movement of pediatric clinicians, legislators, and caregivers who have the knowledge and the power to effect change. Support C.Y.W.'s efforts to advance childcare by making a donation on its site or through the mail.

For #3 we come to Interfaith Youth Core. A national nonprofit dedicated to promoting religious diversity and cooperation across faiths, I.F.Y.C. aims to nurture communities where people of disparate backgrounds can come together and work toward a better, more equitable America. Because college campuses are places that critically contribute to this process, the group partners with hundreds of universities to supply students and educators with the tools they need to build a more just society.

Because college campuses are places that critically contribute to this process, the group partners with hundreds of universities to supply students and educators with the tools they need to build a more just society.

Among I.F.Y.C.'s offerings are training programs, gatherings, and grants that support interfaith initiatives on campus. One of its biggest events is its annual leadership institute in Chicago, which involves sessions between students and educators committed to championing religious pluralism. Many of its other resources are made freely accessible through its site, including curricula, webinars, and case studies. It also offers a large library of community content such as videos and podcasts, which all draw from its work with higher education institutions across the country. Help spread I.F.Y.C.'s message by inviting one of its alumni to speak in your community.

Showing up at #4 is the National Center for Youth Law, headquartered in Oakland, California. Established in 1970 to improve the lives of underserved youth, N.C.Y.L. is a non-profit law firm devoted to ensuring that low-income children have the governmental support they need to flourish. With emphases on foster care, juvenile justice, health, and education, the center leads a plethora of campaigns that combine public policy, technical assistance, and litigation. Through its multiple advocacy and legal initiatives, it strives to secure the welfare of children by positively transforming the systems that are meant to serve them.

To achieve its goals, N.C.Y.L. sponsors and campaigns for legislation, partners and consults with public youth-serving agencies, and works with the media to expose organizations that are failing the kids in their care. Engaging in wide-scale litigation with the aim of effecting systemic change, the group offers a range of services to children's attorneys that assist in the knowledge and implementation of important policies and practices. N.C.Y.L. also works directly with youth and their caregivers, and provides resources that explain legal rights and protections. To ensure young people are getting the care they deserve, make a donation through the group's site.

To achieve its goals, N.C.Y.L. sponsors and campaigns for legislation, partners and consults with public youth-serving agencies, and works with the media to expose organizations that are failing the kids in their care.

For #5 we get SMYAL, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ youth in the Washington DC metro area. Through leadership development, counseling services, after-school programs, and public policy, the group works to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender kids so they can grow confidently and successfully into adulthood. It also offers training and education programs for adults working in government agencies, schools, shelters, and other places that have a direct impact on the lives of youth.

Included among SMYAL's many programs is a four-day activist camp for high schoolers, which involves workshops and field trips that teach participants about political advocacy strategies. Breaking Ground, a summer-long program, uses the performing arts to explore complex social issues, and culminates in a full-length musical production. One of the group's most notable services is its Youth House, which gives shelter, food, and comprehensive community support to LGBTQ youth facing homelessness. Contribute to SMYAL's mission by taking part in one of its fundraising events, or by volunteering to assist with community outreach.

Finally, coming in at #6 is the National Youth Rights Association. Founded in 1998 with the goal of challenging age-based discrimination, NYRA is a youth-led activist organization that fights for the liberties of all young people. Dedicated to defending youth from prejudiced beliefs and policies that impinge on their freedom and equality, it uses advocacy to promote their rights to vote, work, assemble, and make decisions about their bodies, among other human and civil liberties. NYRA's strategies include educating communities about ageism, campaigning for legislative reforms, and giving kids and teens opportunities to become spokespeople for their own lives.

NYRA's strategies include educating communities about ageism, campaigning for legislative reforms, and giving kids and teens opportunities to become spokespeople for their own lives.

The organization maintains a particular focus on reforming four key areas, which are student rights, curfew, and the voting and drinking ages. It believes that the laws and practices enforced around these subjects are ineffective, needlessly restrictive, and in violation of youth rights. In regards to school, the group advocates for freedom from punishment, dress codes, and search and seizure tactics, as well as for the ability of students to have a say in determining academic policies. An activist toolkit on its website, meanwhile, offers actionable guidance for organizing and outreach. Help do your part by starting a local NYRA chapter in your community or school.