The Power of Shared Leadership

Our NVR Youth Leaders from left to right: Jada, Qin, and Andrea

Although we are saying goodbye to Katherine, New Voices has not skipped a beat, thanks to the program’s shared-leadership model. This month, we are highlighting the many ways people are leading the next chapter of New Voices. Read on to find out more about these leaders and their impact.

Jill Ratner founded New Voices Are Rising and currently serves as President and Co-Director. Over the years, she has developed programs that help young people in under-represented communities gain the skills and experience in civic engagement that they need to begin to tackle the problems — including environmental health problems — that disproportionately impact their communities. Jill’s vision catalyzed the leadership development program that New Voices is today. 

Mars Keith is stepping into a new leadership role as Youth Coordinator. She is passionate about creating new narratives around the environment, so Black and Brown people can find belonging, joy, and healing in nature. This passion translates into helping develop and implement workshops, field trips, and actions to build New Voices students’ environmental justice knowledge and leadership skills. 

Qin, Andrea, and Jada make up our team of Youth Co-Coordinators for the Summer Academy. All three were first involved in the program as New Voices students. They exemplify how New Voices Are Rising cultivates young leaders through environmental education and civic engagement. We are proud to have these young women serving as role models for other NVR youth.

Jessica Tovar has stepped in as the Interim Program Director. Jessica has worked closely with New Voices Are Rising for several years, hosting youth externs at Local Clean Energy Alliance. Jessica’s work mirrors the natural progression of the NVR program focus: shifting from the identification of climate-related issues to proposing green solutions. Jessica lends her expertise by leading New Voices youth to ideas at the intersection of sustainability and justice, specifically in regards to clean air and energy. We are excited to have Jessica as a New Voices leader while we look for another individual to fill the Program Manager role long-term.

These leaders embody the multitude of perspectives and experiences of the New Voices team. They teach each other, and learn from each other, helping the program to continuously evolve and cultivate the next generation of environmental justice leaders.

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