Austin – Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS), a statewide organization that strengthens services for Texas youth and families, has teamed up with the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions (FCS) and Young Invincibles to launch a Texas Emerging Leaders Board that will build pathways to academic and career success for the state’s 500,000 “Opportunity Youth” (OY): Young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither enrolled in school nor participating in the labor market. Often, these youth and young adults have lived experience with foster care, homelessness, juvenile justice, and other systems.
The program is a key lever of the Aspen Institute’s Texas Opportunity Youth Network (TOYN), which works in communities across the state to build their capacity and expertise in connecting young people to education and careers that fuel their personal goals. Guided by the knowledge that youth are the experts in their own lives, the 12-month, paid program is open to 15 youth and young adults from across Texas who have themselves experienced disconnection from school and work or who are at risk of disconnection. The program is also the final stage of TNOYS’ Youth Engagement Roadmap, a stepped pathway to youth-adult partnership and economic mobility for systems-involved youth and young adults.
“Authentic youth-adult partnership guides all that we do here at TNOYS,” explains Fedora Galasso, TNOYS’ Chief Executive Officer, “The Texas Emerging Leaders Board is a chance for youth and young adults to build upon a demonstrated interest in leadership and advocacy, amplify their lived expertise, and develop the skills they need to achieve their dreams.”
By leveraging the unique expertise of Aspen Institute, TNOYS, and Young Invincibles, the Texas Emerging Leaders Board will influence change at national and local levels. Board members will receive training to educate and collaborate with policymakers, service providers, and community officials to advocate for solutions so that no young person in Texas has to experience disconnection.
“At the national and local level, the Aspen Institute’s Opportunity Youth Forum (OYF) has a deep commitment to centering youth-led solutions that touch the lives of opportunity youth (OY),” explains Hannah Gourgey, Aspen Institute Senior Fellow. “We are excited to collaborate with TNOYS, Young Invincibles, and Texas youth and young adult leaders to not only build reconnection pathways for OY in Texas but to also influence work that will improve outcomes for youth and young adults across the country.”
Applications are now open for youth and young adults to join the Texas Emerging Leaders board. If you know of an Opportunity Youth who is interested in the chance to build systems change, please share the application here. For more information, please email email@example.com.
Hurry, applications close on October 12!