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BC YPAR students benefit from AmeriCorps grant through local partnership

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

YoUthROC, a community and University of Minnesota-connected youth research team, was recently awarded a grant from AmeriCorps that will help the team conduct a project with Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR). BCCS is one district whose students participate in YPAR, a program in which young people work toward community development and advocate for change rooted in social justice. 

At BC, YPAR students conduct projects and present their findings, and the duration of the projects and presentation of findings look different for each group. One manifestation of this work was the Purple Room at Brooklyn Center Middle and High School STEAM.

BC YPAR’s partnership with YoUthROC means that the grant will aid BC students in their research. “YoUthROC has hosted workshops, professional development, listening sessions, and YPAR mentorship spaces for our community,” said Amina Smaller, BC YPAR coordinator. “One of the important aspects of youth organizing and action for educational change is honoring their intellectual work. A lot of times, young people give their intellectual labor for free and while this can be seen as thoughtful, it is also unfair. The AmeriCorps grant will give all participants in the YPAR team a wage and the flexibility to work after school and also during school. We will also be able to compensate students and staff to attend a YPAR Summit in May and be really intentional about learning more about the YPAR community across the state.”

Smaller emphasizes that BC is part of the first network of YPAR teams in Minnesota. Other major cities like Philadelphia, New York City, San Francisco, and Baltimore have networks already, so BC YPAR is proud to see these roots take place in the state.

“Educational change is synonymous with community change. Being in relationship with other young people doing this work makes it sustainable and there's more hope for the future of building better schooling experiences for all youth,” said Smaller.

Students stand celebrating the grant