Youth in Democracy Fellowship

The Youth in Democracy Fellowship program provides a platform for students and young adults to explore an issue that is important to them and create positive change in their community.

Democracy is strengthened by consensus-building, advocacy, and collaboration. At a time when we are exposed to messages sowing distrust in government, this program offers youth an opportunity to experience firsthand the power of advocating for change by interacting with local government.

Participants will be paid a $1,500 stipend and be supported by a youth-serving organization and college student mentors to identify an issue where collaboration with local government can bring about positive action. Participants will be selected based on their passion and commitment to active participation in community building.

Proposed project ideas might address infrastructure, ongoing youth-peer programming, community-based programming, or the creation of a one-time event. The initiative will be guided by Paul Marienthal, Dean for Social Action and Director of the Trustee Leader Scholar program at Bard College. Fellows will receive encouragement and guidance on a regular basis from their mentors. Projects must be generated by the youth fellow and engage official governmental entities (a planning board, recreation department, board of education, library board, police, highway department, or sustainability committee, etc.). The initiative will provide up to $5,000 to draw from to help support their project planning and/or implementation.