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Colorado Youth Congress

Lakewood, CO | https://coyouthcongress.org
Joined in March 2021

About Us

The Colorado Youth Congress works with top high school leaders statewide -- from urban, suburban and rural communities, across the political spectrum -- to drive transformative systems change.

We were founded in November 2017 as a small experiment: 50 high school students gathered in Denver on a Friday night to talk about the issues that were affecting them. We invited them to come again the next day. All 50 came back. And they showed up, again and again, deciding to work together to solve the problems that they had surfaced. We’ve since grown to 250 members representing 30 communities across Colorado, all working together to address the most vexing challenges of our generation.

THEORY OF CHANGE & IMPACT

Our theory of change revolves around authentic co-creation at all levels of our organization. Young people make up ⅓ of our board of directors. They help set the vision, strategy and programming for the organization and manage all of our recruitment efforts. In the 2019-20 school year, we entrusted youth leaders with access to and full autonomy over a $10,000 budget.

We center racial justice in our work and understand that to transform systems we must focus on three levels of change:

  1. Individual: The first evolution is internal. We work with young people to develop a strong sense of identity and the skills needed for a lifetime of leadership.
  2. Community: We build the type of community we want to see replicated in society -- diverse and equitable with a whole lot of love. 
  3. Systems: We honor the complexity and interconnectedness of our problems and engage deeply with partner organizations to shift systems towards equity and well-being.

We’ve seen this theory of youth leadership validated time and again through the work of our members. In just two and a half years, we’ve led the following systems change efforts:

  • Successfully changed the name of a school once named after a Ku Klux Klan leader
  • Lobbied for millions of dollars of mental health supports statewide
  • Introduced unprecedented legislation to allow 16-year-olds to vote for school board
  • Created a project-based cohort at a large comprehensive high school in Colorado Springs
  • Made college access a reality on the eastern plains of Colorado
  • Helped select the first Latina superintendent of Denver Public Schools

And we’re just getting warmed up.

The Colorado Youth Congress works with top high school leaders statewide -- from urban, suburban and rural communities, across the political spectrum -- to drive transformative systems change.

We were founded in November 2017 as a small…

Issue Areas Include

  • Children & Youth
  • Civic Engagement
  • Education
  • Policy
  • Rural Areas

Location & Contact

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