Young Adult Civic Engagement (YACE)

Organization: 
A Community Leaders Fellowship Program to Advance Equity
Director: 
A Community-University Partnership

"We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community."

-Cesar Chavez

The Central California Young Adult Civic Engagement (YACE) Project will establish a Community Leaders Fellowship program for young adults recruited from low-income, racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse communities from the eastern border of the San Joaquin valley across to the central coast of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties. This often-neglected region has many shared demographic, economic, and social characteristics that can be mobilized to access a high level of latent political power that can be strategically deployed to meet the pressing needs of these communities.

YACE was developed through an in-depth, two-year long collaborative process facilitated by the University of California Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (CCREC). Three research centers and more than 20 community organizations participated in analyzing the needs and strengths in the region and developing YACE as a strategic intervention to create more equitable communities. Beginning with a two-year pilot phase, the YACE Fellowship Program is aimed at increasing the civic engagement of 18-30 year olds in the Central California region by preparing a new generation of Community Leaders with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to bridge social, cultural, and economic divides, to utilize data and research in organizing efforts, and to foster healthy, caring, and sustainable communities. At the same time, YACE will enhance the capacity of key community-based organizations to educate and mobilize community members typically left out of public deliberations and policy formation about issues of central importance to their wellbeing.

1.  Recruit and train two cohorts of 10 young adult Community Leaders.

2.  Enhance the capacities and effectiveness of the four host community organizations to address issues negatively impacting the social indicators of health in their communities.

3.  Conduct research and generate knowledge about opportunities for and barriers to increased civic engagement for young adults in the region.

4.  Conduct research and generate knowledge about transforming the school-to-prison pipeline and about improving reentry for formerly incarcerated young adults in the host communities.

5.  Build a “Data-Hub” to support a regional network of community organizations and young adult activists seeking to advance equity for low-income, racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse communities.

6.  Test the efficacy of the Fellowship design and inform best practices for community-university partnerships seeking to enhance civic engagement among under-represented populations.

CCREC:  Ron Glass, PI/Director, CCREC: rglass@ucsc.edu

FFSJ:  Samuel Nunez, Director: snunez@ffsj.org

MOP:  Tsia Xiong, Director: tsia_xiong@yahoo.com

MILPA:  Juan Gomez, Director; jgomez@nlffi.org

CRC:  Nancy Erbstein, Research Scientist; nerbstein@ucdavis.edu

ReCCES:  Robin DeLugan, Director, ReCCES; rdelugan@ucmerced.edu

Click here to see the full color project brochure!