Powerful Youth Voices Amplified at Opportunity Nation Summit

The Opportunity Nation Summit featured a number of high profile speakers, but the speakers with the most important messages were the young men and women who every day must struggle to overcome barriers to opportunity.Youth voices were most prominent during the National Council of Young Leaders and Allies Gathering that was a breakout segment of the Summit. During this session, members of the National Council shared and explained the Six Immediate Recommendations for improving youth opportunity that they developed earlier this year.
The Recommendations were to Expand Comprehensive Programs; Expand Commitments to National Service; Expand Private Internships; Increase Mentoring Opportunities; Increase Pathways to Higher Education; and Expand Second Chance Programs for Former Inmates.
Read their full recommendations and biographies.
Members of the Council are affliated with various organizations that serve youth, including The Corps Network, Youthbuild USA, Year Up, Public Allies, Opportunity Nation, Youth Leadership Institute, Jobs for the Future, the Philadelphia Youth Network, and the Forum for Youth Investment / Spark Action.
Council members with relevant personal experience presented the recommendations. Ladine “JR” Daniels, a 2012 Corpsmember of the Year, presented the final recommendation and explained how, after spending two years in prison, The Sustainability Institute in his hometown of Charleston, S.C. helped him develop job skills.
Philandrian Tree, another 2012 Corpsmember of the Year, presented the second recommendation and shared her story of working as an AmeriCorps member with the Coconino Rural Environment Corps to help improve energy efficiency on Arizona’s Native American reservations.
Throughout the Summit, youth were called upon to share how job corps and nontraditional educational programs helped them overcome barriers to success such as poverty, broken homes, teen pregnancy and criminal records. Diana Carrillo, a member of The Corps Network’s Conservation Corps of North Bay in San Rafael, California, shared her story of finding success at CCNB as a young mother who was new to this country. Diana explained how she emigrated from Mexico to America three years ago with no knowledge of English and her then 4-year-old daughter in tow. Thanks to CCNB, Diana is now a confident English-speaker, has her GED and plans to attend Community College next year.
Numerous other Corpsmembers and Corps staff from around the country came to Washington D.C. to attend the event and also participate in a Hill Day on Thursday. We thank them for their participation!