YVote Change Makers 2023-2024

YVote Change Makers Institute


The YVote Change Makers Institute brings together civically-motivated high school students across the five boroughs of New York City to develop and strengthen key civic skills. Through monthly virtual sessions and Afternoons of Action, youth explore tools for making change in their own communities—from voting, to advocacy, to peer learning, and more.

The program is issue-based and peer-led. The curriculum is designed by youth facilitators (ages 17-24) who also run the program itself, sharing their own civic journeys and motivations with participants. Each session focuses on different civic skills through the lens of specific social issues identified by participants as most important to them.

Interested in joining the Summer Change Makers Institute? Applications go live in April! Follow us on social media @YVoteNY or subscribe to our monthly newsletter to be notified.

Change Maker Virtual Sessions

DateThemeKey Goals
October 3rd
Watch the session here
Welcome + Introduction to Organizing!Building community and relationships
Defining civic engagement and exploring barriers to/different manifestations of civic engagement
Learning about and analyzing local organizing movements
Being exposed to the different aspects of organizing (with a focus on research/policy)
November 7th
Watch the session here
The Role of Government–and Voting–in our LivesUnderstanding the powers of different levels of government
Synthesizing personal experiences + background knowledge to think about the state of our democracy
Bonding with other YVoters
Discussing the way formal policy impacts our lives + how this knowledge can be leveraged for  advocacy
December 5th
Watch the session here
Media & Political CultureUnderstand how people use social media to get information about politics.
Explore how social media shapes our perceptions of different identities.
Analyze how social media and news influence political discourse and civic engagement.
Encourage participants to reflect on their own media consumption habits and make commitments to improve their media literacy.
January 9th
Watch the session here
Power in PoliticsParticipate in brainstorming sessions and group decision-making
Be aware of important political campaigns
Assess a political candidate’s platform
Reflect on and assess one’s own proximity to power, privilege and oppression 
Make connections with peers from different backgrounds and diverse perspectives/ Learning how to foster discussion among people with different perspectives
February 6th
Watch the session here
Oppression & Overcoming Reflect on and assess one’s proximity to power, privilege, and oppression
Make connections with peers from different backgrounds and diverse perspectives 
Engage and ask good questions of politicians and/or civic leaders
Use personal experience and storytelling in your communication tools about an issue
March 5thStay tuned!
April 2ndStay tuned!
May 7thStay tuned!
June 5thStay tuned!

Afternoons of Action

Each month, YVoters gather in person to deepen their connections and put their civic passions into action. They host expert guest speakers, canvas in communities, conduct voter registration efforts, and more. See snapshots from a few of this year’s Afternoons of Action—most of which were held at the NY Society for Ethical Culture—below!

October: YVoters explored what community engagement and community action looks like, by generating ideas for projects that could be funded through the NYC Civic Engagement Commission’s Participatory Budgeting campaign and creating “Issue Trees” to explore the root causes of social issues.

November: YVoters canvassed at the Office of Neighborhood Safety’s Leadership Council Summit, investigating why people do or do not vote or civically participate. In advance of the canvassing, YVoters researched specific policies to understand the populations these policies impact, in order to “humanize” politics and see the real consequences policies have on individuals.

December: YVoters created “civic vision boards” to set individual and collective civic goals for the new year. Then, alumni joined for the YVote Annual Holiday Party which included games, gingerbread house competitions, and gratitude reflections for 2023.

January: YVoters examined different methods of activism, including boycotts, social media, volunteering, protesting, and art. Then, they used what they learned to create their own advocacy campaigns in small groups.

February: YVoters were joined by Erika Howard, Director of Impact Strategy & External Relations at Frontline PBS, for a presentation connecting the role of youth to create change, the contributions of young people to the Civil Rights Movement during Freedom Summer, and the role of media in both informing young change makers and covering their activism.