Based in Boston
Since 1994, Youth on Board (YOB) has been a leader in the field of youth organizing in the Boston area and beyond. YOB supports the power of students to transform their communities by recognizing that when young people are fully engaged—when their voices are heard, their opinions matter, and their unique perspective is respected—they commit themselves to making their schools, their communities, and their own lives better. Through a partnership with the Boston Public School district (BPS), YOB co-administers a citywide body of student leaders that represents most high schools in the district known as the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC). BSAC, which consists almost entirely of low-income students of color, identifies and organizes around pertinent student issues, thereby putting these key stakeholders at the center of the decisions that affect them the most.
YOB and BSAC* students have led organizing efforts, forged relationships with district and city-leaders, created and changed school policies, lobbied for increased student representation on the School Committee and other decision-making bodies, and advanced the voice and status of young people throughout Boston. Our projects often operate on multiple levels – addressing district-level systems change, as well as state-level systems change – while developing workable models of student-led campaign development and movement-building for replication across the country. Most critically, all of BSAC’s projects and campaigns are developed by young people themselves.
YOB also provides training and consultation and publishes materials based on our work. Since we began we have worked in more than 5 countries, 25 states, and over 100 schools. We are a project of YouthBuild USA.
*See BSAC’s effort to increase student voice in teacher evaluation: