As we head into summer, New Voices Are Rising is marking the end of the school-year Fellowship program and the start of our virtual Summer Climate Justice Leadership Academy. Our four fantastic Fellows David, Michelle, Natalia, and Parker, have worked hard all year to improve air quality, food access, community planning, renewable energy access, and more. We are so proud of all they have accomplished, particularly while working entirely remotely this year. We want to thank our Fellows for their continued leadership and commitment to advancing environmental justice in our communities.
So, what’s next for our Fellows?
Parker will be spending her summer with Summer Search, going on an exciting camping adventure, before starting her Junior year of high school. Natalia and Michelle are both graduating from high school and heading off to college in the fall! Natalia is journeying to Southern California to attend UC San Diego, and Michelle is venturing to nearby UC Berkeley! And Michelle and David are both joining this year’s virtual Summer Academy as POD (Peers on Duty) Leaders, who will mentor youth from all around the Bay Area.
With the 2021 Summer Academy kicking off this week, New Voices has been working hard to get everything ready. This year, we are expanding our virtual Academy to bring together 30 youth from frontline communities across the Bay Area. Learn more about the Academy here. This is our largest cohort yet, and we cannot wait for all the summer has in store! Over the last couple of weeks, Acting Program Director Katherine, Youth Coordinator Mars Keith, and Youth Co-Coordinators Andrea and Qin have been training up our six POD Leaders to support them in developing the skills they need to lead their small groups throughout the six-week program. Our POD Leaders are helping develop parts of the curriculum, learning to run hands-on activities remotely, and creating presentations to share their knowledge with their small groups. They went on a virtual retreat last week to gain conflict resolution skills and learn to work as a team. At Orientation, program staff got the chance to meet the cohort of 30 youth from frontline communities across the Bay Area all together for the first time! They had lots of fun starting to get to know each other through ice breaker activities and learning about all that the program has in store for the summer. And the Summer Academy launched on Monday! Our youth can’t wait to get to know each other better and grow the local movement for climate justice!
We want to give a huge thank you to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and East Bay Community Foundation for their anchor grants supporting our program’s expansion across the Bay Area.