Youth Will has a vision of a future where every young person has what they need to be happy, healthy, and prepared to reach their potential.
With the loss of in-person schooling, extracurricular activities and jobs, San Diego youth are slipping through the cracks as our community fractures right now.
But with your help, we can channel our energy toward ensuring the needs of all young people are met during this pandemic.
Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on Young People in San Diego
We have the opportunity to connect with our generation and advocate for them, while also preparing ourselves for our future careers.
Unfortunately, over the span of a few weeks COVID-19 has completely upended our community. And while the health effects of the virus are more lethal for our elders, we are quickly seeing that the fallout of the crisis is landing disproportionately on young people.
Seemingly overnight we lost school and the extracurricular activities we participated in. The jobs many of us work have been shut down and, sadly, will not reopen. It feels as though we are slipping through the cracks as our community fractures. We use this pandemic as motivation.
We can see those who are missing a voice, and it is our job to make them feel heard and supported. Youth Will is very thankful to be able to support the youth in our communities during this time of need, and will only continue to do so in the future.
What Sets Youth Will Apart From Other Youth Organizations?
1. The young leaders who are Youth Will:
For too long, youth have been an afterthought when important decisions are being made. Youth Will believes young people should be at the forefront of every decision making process by our leaders and we work with the youth in our community to create a policy agenda to guide the decisions that are being made.
2. The campaigns we are currently advocating for:
Campaigns we are currently working on include accessibility to more affordable housing for the homeless, youth and veterans, creating job opportunities for the youth to get experience before joining the workforce, access to free feminine products in the San Diego community, virtual mental health counseling, and much more. We are motivated now more than ever to create the change we want to see so the youth around us are able to reach their full potential.
3. What motivates us:
Youth Will is driven by passion and purpose. It is our personal commitment every day to make a positive difference in our community, and that serves as the foundation for our energy and hard work.
“I’m working for something that is beyond myself”
“I’ve been seeing a lot of progress since we started and i really believe that the things we are doing right”
What do we do?
Imagine a world where our leaders always took a moment before making a decision to ask themselves what would be best for our children and youth.
For too long, youth have been an afterthought when important decisions are being made. Youth Will believes young people should be at the forefront of every decision made by our leaders and have worked with the youth in our community to create a policy agenda to guide the decisions that are being made.
This means establishing partnerships where folks can share their struggles, celebrate their successes, and strategize for collective impact. It also means developing a culture of youth-adult partnership where the beautiful wisdom of each generation can be shared to create a better future.
How is your money spent?
✅ $1,500 fully supports the stipend of a youth participant
✅ $500 fully supports the organizational costs for a full-day of the internship program
✅ $250 provides a laptop for a youth
✅ $100 pays for access to creative platforms that allow youth to develop work-ready design skills
Below are the stories of each fellow, and why they are so inspired to continue the work they are doing at Youth Will.
“YOUTH WILL BE LEADERS”
My name is Brittany Holman! I am about to complete my undergraduate studies in May with a major in International Business. I joined Youth Will in February and it is my first time being a part of a non-profit organization, and it’s been really great so far. I am in charge of creating content on the social platforms for Youth Will, as well as taking part in the different campaigns that we are advocating for during this time. Although I grew up in PA, I feel so connected to the San Diego community now more than ever, and definitely feel as though I am helping other youths have a voice at this time when they sometimes feel unheard. It’s so great that I am able to take part in things around San Diego that are actually important to me and see the process of the changes that we all want made. I hope to gain even more experience through this internship and bring that knowledge into my future career!
“YOUTH WILL INSPIRE”
Hello, My name is Monét Panza. Proudly born and raised in Southeast San Diego, I am honored to serve the youth. I recently graduated from San Francisco State University, majoring in Africana Studies and minoring in Humanities. I graduated with the intent to come back home to rediscover and reconnect with my community - as well as plant seed that will lead to growth and positive transformation. I am a part of Youth Will because I believe that all youth in San Diego deserve to have all of their basic needs met as well as the agency to create and mold their own realities. I am currently advocating to provide youth with job opportunities that will enhance the environment and mental health of community members. I am absolutely looking forward to building community and creating magnanimous change.
“YOUTH WILL BUILD POWER”
My name is Joshua Piedra. A San Diego Native, I joined Youth Will because of the work they do with our youth. Growing up, I knew that I was at a disadvantage compared to other communities. Young people are disproportionately at higher risk of homelessness, food scarcity, income inequality, and social inequality. I’ve seen what this has done to our young communities and it is important to me that our government views the youth of San Diego as full and equal members of society, regardless of age. I want to be able to contribute to youth advocacy and further our communities.
“YOUTH WILL HAVE A VOICE”
My name is Carlos Torres and I am a High School Senior and future college student planning to major in Social Work and Business. I joined Youth Will towards the end of February, and although this wasn't my first non profit organization I’ve participated in, it’s definitely the most exciting and challenging one yet. I am advocating for more jobs and Recreation & Parks for both children and youth. Due to COVID-19, I feel especially challenged in the work that I am doing, but think there is a greater sense of communication within our community. Right now, colleagues and I are working providing more jobs as well as how to better spread communication about Parks and Rec events for our youth and children so they are able to develop life skills and keep their minds busy from any other negative ideas. It’s great to be able to be a part of this and the San Diego Community. I hope to gain more skills that would help me throughout my life during this internship.
“YOUTH WILL REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL”
My name is Safia Haidari! I’m an organizer and Tech-Hire fellow with Youth Will. I got involved with Youth Will after attending their Healthcare forum over the summer. I was drawn to Youth Will’s mission statement because I know that when I was growing up I felt like there were many barriers preventing me from reaching my full potential. I want youth in San Diego to know that we have a seat at the table when it comes to shaping decisions and policies that directly affect us because our experiences and perspectives are just as valid. I also want to encourage more youth from historically underrepresented/marginalized groups to get involved in this work.
“YOUTH WILL HAVE ACCESS”
My name is Subrein. I graduated from San Diego State University with an interdisciplinary degree an Arabic, political science, and history. I spent a while looking for an internship in nonprofit work but I never could find the right organization for me. A lot of the organizations I came across never felt true to their goals. I felt like there was a lot of disconnect between the people doing the work and what the organization wanted. When I started my YouthWill internship I was happy to see the passion that everyone had for the work they were doing. This internship has given me the opportunity to meet and connect with people who share the same love as non-profit work that I do. This internship has given me the opportunity to learn so much more about non-profit work as well as gain the necessary skills that I will need in my future careers!
“YOUTH WILL INSPIRE”
Hey, my name is Hayley Rico and I am a senior currently attending Mission Academy of San Diego. I do plan on attending 2 years of community college and later transferring out to a 4 year university. I plan on studying psychology and social working. I believe empowering, educating, and listening to our youth is extremely essential for the future. Although this is not the first youth based organization I have been a part of, it definitely is the most challenging. I feel a sense of purpose doing the work I do. I am currently advocating for the Menstrual Justice campaign, which works towards ending period poverty which has been an unaddressed problem since the 1800s. I am also a census ambassador, I work to make sure the families in hard to count communities such as Barrio Logan and San Ysidro are educated on how important the 2020 Census is. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic; schools, churches, and jobs have closed, placing everything on hold and I hope to impact my community during and after the covid-19 pandemic as well as building new skill sets and networks.