Youth In Action (YIA), located on the South Side of Providence, Rhode Island, is where youth share their stories, practice leadership, and create change in their communities.
Our youth come from diverse backgrounds and identities, and live in communities that reflect this. These communities often face a disproportionate share of social, economic and environmental burdens. These realities along with structural oppression in the forms of scarcely resourced schools, over criminalization and geographically isolated poverty can easily create a false self and social-narrative of worth and potential for our youth. Here at YIA, our model works to unpack and undo these internalizations while highlighting and celebrating their values, voices and intersecting identities. This layered with the essential leadership skills and social-emotional development provided through our programming our youth are equipped to become agents of change in their communities. Their work challenges systems and social structures and prepares them to be in positions of power.
We create opportunities for youth to become their best selves. They address power imbalances that stifle the potential of youth, especially young people of color, and create more caring and fair public institutions and systems. By building power, leadership and action amongst youth in our communities, we believe a more equitable and safe world is possible.
Founded in 1997, YIA was one of the pioneers of “youth-led” work in Providence, following a time of major revitalization in the city, both in infrastructure and in culture. The organization, originally founded by a group of young people motivated to make change in the community, grew to be a flagship for youth driven work in the city. Today, Youth In Action serves close to 200 youth, weekly.