Civic Dialogue & Community Opportunities

Local Initiatives for supporting and developing social capital and institutional resources

For youth, day-to-day life can seem to be an insurmountable wall
People agree that "youth are the future" but, for many contemporary youth, it's difficult to see "over the horizon" of day-to-day life to imagine what possibilities the future might hold. Talents and skills are turned to different purposes, or lost in the shuffle of life – responding to exigencies of daily life.

Bored teens who can think of nothing better than drinking on the street, and rehearsing their anger over how their life is going, and then lashing out, are senseless tragedies, born out of youth anomie, and are not unique to a given urban environment. They metamorphose depending on the contexts –Long Island teenagers killing an Ecuadorian immigrant, gang violence in Los Angeles, drive by shootings in rural settings as well as urban ones. Wherever they occur – all are signposts of the need for revitalized visions of true community development – not just "creating jobs", or new park and recreation facilities, or convention centers, but for nurturing visions of community vibrancy, possibilities for living and collaborating together, and for changing the ways in which schools, educators, and community action groups can support that vision.

Resources are needed inside and outside the school system for youth inside and outside the school, focusing on personal, social, and career development – civic engagement – reaching out across generations for community and business support. Civic engagement is more than voting, it is leadership development and developing sustainable opportunities for engaging those leaders. Some of the projects we have supported or participated in include:

  • For schools (or for after school programs), mobilizing youth to explore and engage in new ways to view themselves and their peers and their community; to empower them to express their concerns and hopes – to envision a future that's more than going step by step through a predictable narrow tunnel, taking control to enable a future they themselves shape. The Working Group's Not in Our Town and Not in our School fosters active engagement in school communities; La Clinica de La Raza's in-school groups supports discussion of what's possible and what's happened and how to bridge the gaps – how to take control.

  • For youth out of school or young adults searching for employment – youth leadership and mentoring programs focusing on developing 21st century skills, developing or retooling entrepreneurial skills, and applying them to projects or activities that can help shape and sustain positive life directions. CTN engages youth in mentoring seniors, and each other, in developing and making use of technology skills to build community. E4FC exploration of medical school for DACA-authorized youth is one such program. CBDIO's study of 12 families in the central valley highlights the issues that have to be faced to empower youth to break out of a cycle of poverty. At UCBerkeley, small stipends for special projects help DREAMers to explore civic engagement.

Centro Binacional de Desarollo Indigena Oaxaqueño (CBDIO) —General support; Specific support for "12 familias" ethnographic research project on lives of indigenous and other Mexican immigrant families in Fresno County. $185,000.

Community Technology Network of the Bay Area (CTN) —Support for inter-generational program of youth volunteers providing computer literacy coaching to community members - to strengthen existing technology training resources, foster new computer skills and the ability to deploy them effectively to meet their specific objectives; and for program development. $129,000.

Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) —General support for E4FC and for the Ph.D. (pre-Health DREAMers) project. PHD provides information, advice, and peer counseling to help undocumented students interested in health careers to go on to graduate school, coupled with outreach and collaboration with universities seeking to become more immigrant-friendly. $70,000.

Institute for Local Government (ILG) —2016 Support to work with local government to prepare for the 2020 Census by partnering with grassroots organizations to update the Census Bureau’s list of addresses in their community. $45,000.

La Clinica de la Raza —Continued support for counseling and mental health services for teenagers traumatized by personal experiences during immigration and integration into US society. $175,000.

La Raza-Centro Legal —Continued support for Immigrant Nation--a project collecting immigrant narratives and disseminating them via a multi-media platform, media events, and documentary video. $35,000.

Liberty Hill Foundation —Support for Cal Dream Scholarship fund to provide scholarship and counseling support to DREAMers; and small specific grant to Inner-City Struggle. $135,000.

Movimiento Cultural de la Union Indigena —Support for a community celebration of Triqui culture and outreach efforts to build community awareness of Triqui music, dance, and crafts. $2,500.

National Skills Coalition (NSC) —2016 support to foster WIOA (Workforce Investment Opportunity Act) access and effective services to immigrants and others who speak English as a second language and/or are limited in educational preparation. $67,000.

Not in Our Town (NIOT) —Continued general support, and, in 2014-15, support for initial production work in developing a documentary and social media campaign to address the problems confronted by communities such as Ferguson, MO. $160,000.

Pacific News Service/New American Media (NAM) —General support for news and public affairs reporting on immigrants and immigration policy, Support to foster youth reporting skills. $146,000.

Radio Bilingue —2016 funding to support programming related to immigrant integration issues. $405,000.

UCLA Downtown Labor Center (through the California Community Foundation and Regents of UCLA) —Continued support for DREAM Summer 2014, 2015, and 2016. $179,000.

University of California, Santa Cruz Foundation —Support for summer internships for Center for Latino and Latin American Studies students working to build immigrant civic engagement in the San Joaquin Valley. $25,000.