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IN CALIFORNIA, THE YOUTH HAVE THE HEART AND VISION: ALL THEY NEED IS OUR SUPPORT

09/01/2016 02:20 pm ET | Updated Sep 01, 2016

Announcing A New Grantmaking Program for California's Youth, by California's Youth.

"Youth are organizing, youth are resisting racism, youth are weaving, youth are uniting across cultures, youth are making art, youth are dancing, youth are waking up, youth are taking action now," 19 year old Quinton Cabellon asserted when asked what the role of young people is in our communities today. Quinton serves on the advisory team of the Youth Rising Mini-Grants Program, a new partnership between the Pollination Project and the California Endowment that lifts up California youth-led projects.

Today's young leaders know that California is facing an economic and environmental crisis and it is our generation who will be paying the price. Youth Rising is a way to channel much needed financial resources to uplift youth-led projects that create healing, justice, and resilience for these times of economic, cultural, and environmental crisis in our State.

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We are a 10 person team of youth and adult allies. We have fire in our hearts for healthy communities. We are passionate about creative arts, gender justice, traditional food ways, addressing climate change, encouraging youth activism, and supporting youth-led businesses. We seek to address challenges in California that range from unjust immigration policies that tear families apart, lack of culturally-affirming curriculum in schools, and the rampant increases in environmentally and diet-related illnesses in low income communities of color.

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"Youth are experiencing the injustices in their communities, and they have ideas for ways to create change today," says Youth Grant Advisor, Alejandro Lopez. While we know we must dismantle unfair and outdated economic and political systems and create new paradigms that work for all of our communities, we also know we must support youth communities in taking action and changing the system as it stands now.

While these grants are for youth-led projects, they are designed to strengthen intergenerational collaboration in communities as well. Grant Advisor Sahara Huazano shares, "It is important that even though the projects will be youth-led, that there are adult allies to bounce ideas with and seek encouragement from. I also hope these projects bring people together that may not have otherwise." Aunjanae Lawson, a Grant Advisor who participated in a mini-grantmaking program in high school, added, "Youth will surprise themselves and others when they step up and really try something".

"At the Pollination Project, we have seen time and time again that young people have the skills, energy and judgment to pioneer new solutions for their communities and the world," said Ariel Nessel, Board President of the Pollination Project. "With just a little financial support, young people can completely transform their communities and the world. A small grant means so much more than money- it represents the validation and encouragement that supports their persistence and perseverance."

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Albert Maldonado, Program Manager for Youth Programs at the California Endowment shared his excitement about the process we will use to select new grantees. "I hope that the application review and grant-making process inspires the youth's imaginations and visions for systems change work in California," he said.

If you know a young person, ages 13-24, who is creating, organizing and being the change, please encourage them to apply here. Adult allies and educators are encouraged to share this announcement with young change-makers!

"We know firsthand that young changemakers need people to believe in them so they can feel confident in trying new things and learning from taking risks along the way," Quinton Cabellon says. "We are excited for youth communities to get direct financial support and to show that we do not need big nonprofit bureaucracies to create a powerful project."

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