The organization Youth Creating Change (YCC) established a Blake chapter in hopes of providing support and resources to clubs and students that aim to make change.
Created by Bethesda Chevy-Chase junior Ethan Tiao and other members of the organization Communities United Against Hate (CUAH), YCC launched June 10 with the goal of publicizing opportunities for grant funding, mentorship, and grassroots training to clubs and students.
Before launching, YCC piloted their program by supporting MoCo Students for Change who organized a gun control rally in DC, March 14. YCC provided schools like Sherwood and Poolesville High School grants for busses to get to the rally and conducted two organizer trainings to help the group first prepare for the rally, and then reflect on it.
Over the summer, YCC expanded across the county, establishing 12 chapters. YCC came to Blake after Tiao contacted sophomore Olivia Gyapong, junior Joseph Lee, and senior Ruby Brayton to be student leaders at the Blake chapter and advance the goals of YCC at the school. Brayton says, “[I felt it] was my responsibility to help bring [YCC] to Blake because I think it’s really important that all of our clubs, especially all of our clubs related to social justice, have a support system that they can use.”
Because making change often requires money, experience, and skills that many students lack, YCC’s primary goal is to provide them resources and guidance to execute the ideas they already have. “It’s not only social justice clubs that we’re trying to reach, but also individual students who don’t have the platform or resources to take initiative,” says Tiao, “We want to facilitate the growth of movements and projects, almost like an incubator.”
Although high school student are not in a position of great power, having seen the impact that well-organized students, such as those involved in MoCo for Change can make, YCC aims to break down hurdles and not allow students’ positions to diminish the impact they can make. “At the end of the day, we’re just high school students and we don’t have a lot of money, so this program is hopefully going to help get rid of the obstacles we face,” adds Brayton.
Although only in the early stages of the organization, Blake’s student leaders hope to work with clubs such as Minority Scholar Program and Allies for Equality in this coming year to advance their individual goals. “I want [YCC] to be utilized by students so that they have the capability to start up projects and pursue goals that they may not have pursued without this kind of program,” says Brayton.