Monday, August 08, 2011
The abience at Southwest Workers Union office is organized chaos. People, ages 15-50, organizing in sync with each other preparing for the summer program's grand finally: The People Power Summit. A 3 day summit focused on youth empowerment and community revolution.
"Back in March the YLO went to DC for a conference called Powershift which was focused on youth finding solutions to climate change. We wanted to bring that momentum and spirit to San Antonio. And this summer was a perfect time to bring people together to make change." said Bailey Perez, a Youth Leadership Organization facilitator.
SWU's youth leadership organization (YLO) holds an annual summer program which lets 5-10 youth leaders learn the ins and outs of organizing and the issues that affect San Antonio. This year the program took a slight turn. SWU youth coordinator Sandra Garcia ,23, decided to step back and let the youth group decide and organize the summer program to insure true youth leadership. This is something that little organizations can handle. Six youth leaders were chosen to lead the summer program with the mentor-ship community leaders.
" These young leaders gathered every afternoon in May to talk about the summer program. For some it was their last month in high school and its amazing that they spent that time laying out the steps to continue the program. " said Diana Lopez, SWU staff member.
Through the summer the facilitators organized and led workshops around animal care, self image, domestic violence, health and exercise, sexual education, facilitation, mural making, quilting and gardening. They also worked on outreach and media training to invite people to the program and the summit.
The last two weeks of the summit are crunch time. The group started coming to the office 5 days a week to prepare for the summit. For More information on the summit please view previous post.
"What keeps me motivated in the expectation that people will get out of my workshops. Getting to start working on the workshops and developing them and seeing how they are coming along is what its about. Its alot of work because I have never planned a summit before but its coming along good. " said Ashely Terrazas, summer facilitator and YLO member.
The summer program and summit is spearheaded by Edision HS. Youth Leadership Organization, an after school program that takes SWU into the schools to organize and empower the students along with our school members.