Partnership Aims to Amplify Youth Voices to Shape the Future of Orange County

1024 576 Valerie Johnson

Photo by Sven Piper on Unsplash

We are excited to share news about CA FWD’s Young Leaders Advisory Council (YLAC) and our collaboration with California’s Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) program. Together, we are embarking on a groundbreaking project to empower and engage the youth of Orange County that marks a significant step toward empowering young people and driving positive change in the region.

CERF was established by the State of California in 2022 with a mission to support local regions in developing economic development plans. It focuses on creating accessible, good-paying jobs in sustainable industries. As part of the CERF Orange County High Road Transition Collaborative, YLAC has been awarded $15,000 to carry out impactful outreach activities specifically targeting the youth population in Orange County.

YLAC’s core mission is to amplify the voices of young people and bridge the gap between decision-makers and underrepresented communities. With this grant, we have set ambitious goals to increase the youth voice and participation in shaping Orange County’s economic future. Our outreach strategy will revolve around engaging students, young professionals, and stakeholder groups, with a particular emphasis on disinvested community members.

As young leaders, we possess a unique ability to connect with and understand the concerns and aspirations of our peers. And, through our diverse backgrounds and experiences, we can leverage our presence on school campuses and within local communities to engage and mobilize young people. We believe by empowering the youth voice, we can contribute to creating a more inclusive and prosperous Orange County.

A crucial component of our outreach efforts will involve collecting survey responses from the community. These surveys will serve as a valuable tool to gather insights, opinions, and suggestions from young stakeholders and will directly inform the CERF planning process, ensuring the economic development plan for Orange County reflects the needs and aspirations of its residents. YLAC will collaborate closely with local organizations, community groups, and educational institutions to maximize the reach and impact of our outreach activities. By forging strong partnerships, we will lean into a network of support that amplifies our collective voice and fosters meaningful change.

As we embark on this exciting journey, we invite young change-makers and passionate individuals to join us. YLAC is actively seeking participants for our upcoming initiatives, including outreach activities, focus groups, and events. If you are connected with local organizations in Orange County dedicated to empowering youth, we want to collaborate with you to amplify youth voices and drive impactful change.

Together, we can create an inclusive economic landscape that recognizes the importance of youth perspectives and uplifts the aspirations of young residents to make a difference, ensuring young voices are at the forefront of shaping the economic landscape of Orange County.

Want to add your voice? If you live in Orange County and are between the ages of 16 and 24, click here to participate in our community survey which will inform the CERF planning process in the region.

Valerie Johnson is co-chair of the Young Leaders Advisory Council.


Valerie Johnson

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