Apply to become Plan International USA’s newest Youth Advisory Board member TODAY!

2014 Youth Advisory Board

            2014 Youth Advisory Board

What is Plan International USA’s Youth Advisory Board?

The Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is a youth-led group that advises Plan International USA, including its Board of Directors and Executive Team. The YAB also develops projects and campaigns related to Plan’s work, including the network of teenage activists in Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA).

As a children’s rights organization with a reputation for youth involvement, it is incredibly important that we have young people like you in our leadership.We believe it is Plan’s responsibility to provide youth with a platform to provide our leadership with meaningful input and suggestions. Obtaining youth perspectives will help ensure Plan International USA implements the most inclusive and successful programs. In short, YOU are the key to our success!

What does serving on the Youth Advisory Board entail?

Youth Advisory Board (YAB) members participate in monthly meetings and contribute to Plan’s campaigns, reports, youth initiatives and programming. They also participate in advocacy with Plan at certain high-level events, like International Day of the Girl Events in NYC. Members participate in project sub-committees throughout the year and self select for those opportunities. Members communicate mostly through email, phone, and Skype, and there is an annual retreat held each winter.

Typically, members serve on the board for two years, with monthly commitments. For those members who meet group guidelines and wish to stay on, terms will be extended for an additional year. YAB members are not paid employees of Plan. This is a volunteer role. However, you can receive community service credit.

Members are also expected to:

  • Serve in an advisory role to the Executive Team, CEO, and Board of Directors
  • Give input on initiatives, such as campaigns, marketing materials, and our strategic plan
  • Serve as a liaison with peers in Plan’s other national offices (for example: Sweden, Australia, Canada, or Germany)
  • Support the roll-out of the global youth governance strategy with a goal of implementing YABs in all 50 country offices, and providing support to Plan’s other national and country offices when needed
  • Speak at meetings, conferences, and forums as needed, representing Plan and its youth governance work
  • Design/develop creative and innovative ideas for programming on the individual and institutional level
  • Serve as an ambassador when youth representatives from other Plan offices visit the United States
  • Work side-by-side with Plan staff to build upon and refresh existing youth programs
  • Represent Plan’s work in your school, university and community
International Day of the Girl 2014

International Day of the Girl 2014

Here are the qualifications we look for in our applicants!

  • Be a current or former participant in one of Plan’s youth programs
  • Be under the age of 25
  • Be a U.S. citizen or reside in the U.S.
  • Be comfortable speaking with senior members of Plan’s staff
  • Be able to speak in public in front of groups and adults
  • Be confident and willing to freely express opinions
  • Be able to think creatively and offer solutions
  • Participate in monthly meetings via phone or Skype

Think you’re a perfect fit? This is how you can apply!

  1. Fill out the online application. Click Here to apply.
  2. Have a teacher, mentor, or coach fill out the online evaluation. Click Here for the online evaluation.
  3. Interview. After you apply, we’ll contact you in order to schedule an interview.

DEADLINE: Friday, February 27th at midnight.

Thank you so much for your interest! We look forward to reading your application.

Brenna’s Takeaways from Millennium Campus Conference 2014

Brenna Robeson

 

On Friday, October 10th, I was welcomed by the bright sun and palm trees of Lynn University in Boca Ration, for the opening of the 2014 Millennium Campus Conference. The three day event brought together hundreds of university student-leaders, accomplished professionals, and organizations working in the international development sector. The objective of the conference was to form new partnerships and gain fresh insights into our work on the Millennium Development Goals. As a member of Plan International USA’s Youth Advisory Board, I had the opportunity to represent Plan as a delegate at the conference and to take part in the highly thought-provoking and energizing weekend. I saw this conference as an important opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals in an attempt to enhance change-making efforts as well as hold each other accountable for how we go about making that change.

millenium campus network logoEveryone was able to attend multiple workshop sessions throughout the weekend. Each session was intriguing and highly relatable, from debates on moral relativism versus moral absolutism to panel discussions featuring esteemed guests, such as the director of the Peace Corps and celebrity philanthropists. Larger workshops were balanced out by smaller discussion groups that all delegates had been assigned to before the conference. The main purpose of the discussion groups was to give each participant a place to discuss our challenge statements with our peers. Our challenge statements described an aspect of an organization we are a part of or an issue that’s important to us that we want to improve, but haven’t quite figured out how to yet. As each member of my group had the opportunity to share their statement, we drew on our collective bank of diverse experiences and developed specific action steps for each delegate to implement. Our discussions were constructive and ultimately empowering, as we were not only able to receive personalized advice on overcoming our unique obstacles, but to hear it directly from those who had successfully implemented their advice in the past.

 

Speed Partnership Building Activity

Speed Partnership Building Activity

 

Outside of my discussion group sessions, the workshop I connected with the most addressed building movements for social change, led by Americans for Informed Democracy. The workshop focused on how social change movements must be built around effective narratives with which members can identify. Being in a place where so many different organizations and individuals were sharing their own missions, messages, and stories, I recognized hundreds of narratives all around me. Soon, as I looked closer at some of the messages being promoted, I began to question their underlying assertions and assumptions. How does the narrative portray both the actor and the beneficiary? How do these underlying dynamics between giver and receiver shape the manner in which the organization carries out its work?

 

I realized that sometimes in our attempts to communicate to others their potential power as agents of positive change, it is all too easy to resort to narratives that are degrading.While we know provocative images and stories of helpless victims are bound to trigger an emotional, empathetic response, it does not justify their use. Coming into to the conference, I was hoping to gather ideas about how I might work to build YUGA’s outreach. However, after my experience at the conference, I feel it’s appropriate to add-on to my original challenge statement. As I work with the partners I’ve met through the MCC, I hope to foster critical critique and examination of the platforms from which change-making individuals and organizations advocate. Although some organizations may resort to unjustified means to overcome apathy, through our efforts, we can work to shift their mindsets away from objectification and paternalism towards accurate, humanizing narratives that prompt genuine, effective change.

Youth Activist, Caroline Dodd, reports about the UN Climate Summit

Caroline Dodd, the youngest of 50 civil society representatives at the UN Climate Summit

Caroline Dodd, the youngest of 50 civil society representatives at the UN Climate Summit

I am extremely passionate about finding positive solutions to end climate change. I believe it is the most important issue facing the world today, and if left untouched, its effects will be felt by absolutely everyone on the planet. I was incredibly interested in the United Nations Climate Summit because I truly believe that the key to reversing climate change is large-scale action and policy changes, and the Climate Summit was to focus on exactly that. I was honored to receive a nomination and invitation to attend the UN Climate Summit on behalf of Plan International because I was among 49 other Civil Society representatives, all of whom were older than I am and had established careers in combating climate change. Of the fifty civil society representatives, I was honored to be the youngest.

While at the Summit, I attended a thematic discussion on Climate Science. The panelists in this discussion included Thomas Stocker, a Swiss climate scientist, Julia Marton-Lefevre of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and Aleqa Hammond, the Premier of Greenland. Attending the discussion was John P. Holdren, Assistant to President Obama for Science and Technology, who incidentally played a role in the creation of my local Adirondack Youth Climate Summit. This discussion focused on the role of climate science in policy decisions, and how climate science must be a topic in which virtually everyone is well-versed in order to create climate action. The next thematic discussion I attended was titled Voices from the Climate Frontlines, which included moderator and British TV personality Femi Oke, and panelists President Evo Morales of Bolivia, Mary Robinson of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, and former human rights lawyer and current NBC News Anchor Ronan Farrow. Also on the panel were the three women who escorted me through the summit while I was there:  Sylvia Atugonza Kapello, Head of the Riamiriam Civil Society Network in Karamoja, Uganda, Alina Saba, Researcher and Community Organizer for the Mugal Indigenous Women’s Upliftment Institute/Asia Pacific Forum on Women in Nepal, Law and Development, and Christina Ora, Youth Activist, Pacific Youth Council in the Solomon Islands. This discussion focused on climate change as a social justice issue and how it disproportionately affects people in developing nations who lack the resources or infrastructure needed to prepare for and combat climate change and associated natural disasters. I was especially moved and inspired by this discussion because I realized that to address climate change is not just to address the physical effects, but also the injustices, prejudices, and disadvantages faced by many groups of people throughout the world in order to give everyone a chance to face climate change and help to reverse it.

I was the only youth representative chosen to attend the UN Climate Summit through the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS), but there were ten other youth representatives chosen to attend the summit through other organizations. I had the privilege of interacting with these youth, all of whom are incredibly bright, motivated, and passionate about climate change and other global issues. I felt very empowered by the fact that I, as a young person, am not alone in my passion for finding solutions to combat climate change. Having youth voices participate in international discussions on climate change is pivotal and crucial to the climate change movement because though the young generation did not create climate change, it is we who are faced with the challenge of reversing it so that we and future generations may live prosperous lives on this beautiful Earth.

Caroline with her escorts, whom were also panelists in one of the discussions she attended

Caroline with her escorts, whom were also panelists in one of the discussions she attended

After the summit, I contacted a number of climate activists, politicians, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon to ask if they would like to contribute to a presentation I was giving at the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit. I received word first from Bill McKibben, who is an environmentalist and founder of 350.org. Bill McKibben personally recorded a video of himself emphasizing the importance of youth activism in climate change, and voicing his longing to be in the beautiful Tupper Lake, where the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit is held. I also received word from Ban Ki-Moon, who sent a wonderful quote that I included in my presentation:

“Climate change is the defining challenge of our time — a growing threat but also a compelling opportunity to put our world on a more sustainable path.  Climate impacts are growing; so is the cost of inaction.  Our future security and well-being depend on climate action today.  I applaud the steps that young people throughout the world are taking to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their environmental awareness.  The energy that they are dedicating to combating climate change will benefit the world for generations to come.  I will continue pressing world leaders to reach a meaningful climate agreement in Paris next year. Economists have spoken; science has spoken; people are taking to the streets; it is time for leaders to act.  Please raise your voices and tell your elected representatives and community leaders that you want climate action, now!  Thank you for your hard work and commitment.”

These were incredible responses from very well-known and inspiring individuals in the climate movement, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I am also very grateful and honored to have been a part of such an amazing internationally recognized event as the United Nations Climate Summit and I hope that I can utilize what I gained not only to educate others, but to one day create policies to help end climate change.

Caroline with her parents in front of the UN.

Caroline with her parents in front of the UN.

Links to thematic discussions:

Climate Science: http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/2014/08/climate-science/

Voices from the Climate Front lines: http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/2014/08/voices-climate-front-lines/

Link to my presentation at the ADK Youth Climate Summit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEJqsI9LD-4&feature=share