Queens Library, New York
The Youth-to-Youth Teen Leadership Council combines civic engagement, community service and youth development, and underlines the value of teen involvement towards the success of today's urban public library. The program gives 14 - to 21-year-olds positive ways to discover their voice, explore social-cultural differences and create lasting change within their community.
Teens need a safe and reliable space to discover their voice, hear different viewpoints and express their opinions on the road towards becoming healthy and productive adults. Queens Library sought to broaden our relationship with teens by creating a weekly forum to explore, discuss and address relevant and important issues affecting their lives. Our goal was to offer information and guidance allowing teens to develop realistic solutions to community problems they witness and experience daily.
Team-building: Members represented a diverse group of ages and backgrounds to explore ideas, opinions and solutions Community Understanding: The group explored examples of community on a local, national and global scale to better understand root causes and impact of societal issues. Using Evidence: Members learned to collect data to support potential solutions to community issues. Civic Engagement: Members explored policy, advocacy and action-driven solutions to increase individual awareness and reinforce positive choices within their community.
The council of 12 members learned to examine problems strategically and develop immediate/long-term solutions, gained a stronger understanding of cultural norms and practices and improved public speaking skills. Members created and hosted the Money Matters 101 Conference on Personal and College Finance – addressing the need for financial literacy for ninth through 12th grade students, which over 50 teens attended. Moving forward, the group will help launch new councils, conduct workshops and address other issues within their community.