2023 Annual Forum: Transforming Vision into Action – Youth Action Hour Finalists

Youth Action Hour

NYEC was honored to continue the annual Youth Action Hour at this year’s Forum. The Youth Action Hour is a mini-grant opportunity for young leaders, entrepreneurs, and advocates who are working to positively impact their communities. Young people are invited to apply each year by sharing about their projects, businesses, and organizations and how the grant would advance their work. This year, 5 applicants were selected and given the opportunity to present their work during the first day of our Annual Forum. Following their presentations, audience members were invited to vote for one presenter to receive additional grant funds.

This year’s presenters and their projects: Meyiya Coleman | Communities United (Voted Additional Grant Winner!)  Over the past 10 years, Communities United developed the Healing Through Justice (HTJ) model, a youth leadership approach that acknowledges that the process of young people acting on their vision and solutions to address issues impacting them and their families can lead to transformative health and mental health outcomes. Through its HTJ model, CU engages young people of color who conduct youth-led research, build alliances, and lead strategies and advocacy campaigns that are grounded in their lived experiences to create change in their communities.

Yante Turner | Sankofa Project. This time capsule project will highlight Black Trans and Queer organizers & community members in the Midwest as they fight to sustain joy through radical liberation and to capture those stories to inform the future.  This memorabilia-centered catalyst will work as a modern-day archive, displaying resistance from minoritized communities through collective reflection, storytelling and support. We plan to outreach to over 5+ Black Trans and Queer organizers across Milwaukee and Chicago to take part in this project, interviewing them, capturing their stories of survival, grief, fear, joy and love, all to put in the capsule. Our hope: future generations stumble upon living memories of resistance and know that we were here, angry, tired but joyous too. That liberation didn’t just look like protest but looked like laughter, tears, hugs and closeness too. They just have to finish our story.

Alex Lopes | Hamden Youth Services Bureau – Neighborhood Ambassadors Neighborhood Ambassadors is a Work and Learn Program facilitated by the Hamden Youth Services Bureau. Elements of the program include: Neighborhood Beautification; Event Planning, Facilitation and Evaluation; Advisory Council to HYSB; Advisory to Hamden Prevention Council; Career and Post Secondary Education and Training Exploration; Mentoring; Strategies to Promote Mental Health and Life Skills. My mission is to help the youth who lost their jobs due to lack of funding and the town not seeing the benefits of the program by hosting a few events and paying these youth so that they can get some extra income while they find a job.

Anelisa Clachar | New Door Ventures- Alumni Leadership Council The New Door Ventures Alumni Leadership Council is a group of graduates from New Door Ventures’ employment program. New Door Ventures is a community organization based in the Bay Area that supports young people with networking, job training workshops, and other career development opportunities. Our goal as a team is to advocate for youth input and leadership within New Door Ventures programs. For the past year, our group has been working on a youth-led project to improve our job readiness employment program. We are specifically improving our onboarding systems for potential volunteers & business partners. Business partners & volunteers fill an essential role in providing valuable career development experiences for young people within the employment program. Our project aims to address the challenges that arise between interns & supervisors and between interns & volunteers by creating training’s that will provide the tools & understanding to work with New Door interns effectively.


Eve Levenson | YouthInGov YouthInGov is a coalition composed of 100+ youth-led and serving organizations, representing over 3 million young Americans. YouthInGov is calling on the Biden Administration to:

  • Create an Office of Young Americans (OYA) within the Executive Office of the President (EOP)
  • Empower youth in existing administration positions.
  • Create an Advisory Council of Young Americans composed of representatives from organizations who explicitly engage in activities closely related to Young Americans.

If you are interested in connecting with any of these presenters or would like more information about the Youth Action Hour, please contact Cailee Fitzgerald: cailee.fitzgerald@nyec.org.