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Based in Providence, R.I., What Kids Can Do (WKCD) is a national nonprofit founded in 2001 by an educator and a journalist with more than 60 years combined experience supporting adolescent learning in and out of school. Using digital, print, and broadcast media, WKCD presses before the broadest audience possible a dual message: the power of what young people can accomplish when given the opportunities and supports they need and what they can contribute when we take their voices and ideas seriously. The youth who concern WKCD most are those marginalized by poverty, race, and language, ages 12 to 22.
While other organizations share WKCD's message and commitments, our strategies and style are unique. We view young people as active collaborators in every phase of our work. We bring local stories, voices, and resources to international attention and vice versa. We speak to influential adults and young people alike. We document the good work of others as well as sponsoring our own projects. We bring a thirst for peace and justice to all of our pursuits.
In 2005, WKCD launched its own publishing company, Next Generation Press, which develops and distributes books with youth voice at their center. By 2011, Next Generation Press will have published 15 books (with over 150,00 copies in print). In addition, WKCD develops books for publication by other publishers. Two books, Fires in the Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from High School Students (The New Press, 2003) and Fires in the Mind: What Kids Can Tell Us About Motivation and Mastery (Jossey-Bass, 2010), both by WKCD writer Kathleen Cushman, have been best sellers in teacher education.
In the fall of 2010, WKCD began its Center for Youth Voice in Policy and Practice, a virtual center that showcases the power of youth as researchers, knowledge creators, and activists—real contributors to public discussions about policy and practice.
WKCD also works with youth internationally on photo documentary/photo essay projects in: Bangalore and Delhi, India; the Czech Republic; Beijing; Ethiopia; Hungary; Japan; London; Romania; South Africa. Our youth collaborators have included Afro-Caribbean and Muslim immigrants in London, teenage slum dwellers in Delhi, and gypsy youth in Romania.
Major WKCD funders include Adobe Systems, Inc., Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Lumina Foundation for Education, MetLife Foundation, and Surdna Foundation.