At the center of our organization and community are our Student Organizers. FEEST supports the leadership of low-income youth and youth of color to transform their daily lives inside our school systems. Every school year, FEEST welcomes a cohort of student leaders from Chief Sealth, Evergreen, Franklin, Rainier Beach, and Tyee High Schools to deepen their understanding of social justice, build community, and grow together into strong organizers for systems change.
Each year, FEEST hires Student Organizers from each school to increase their understanding of racial, economic, and social justice and develop their organizing and leadership skills. To support students’ participation, FEEST compensates youth organizers for their time and provides stipends for them to purchase food or provide meals during workshops.
We kick off programming with our two-week August Summer Camp before moving into weekly meetings throughout the school year. This provides political education around social justice issues and connections between racial, environmental, food, economic, gender, and transformative justice. This includes explorations into why organizing is necessary, organizing practices, and offering a critical time for relationship building between students. We provide opportunities to explore identities and connect lived experiences to our campaigns through art-based programming, simulated organizing experiences, and sharing meals/food stories to connect with each other and our cultures.
Youth are in the lead at FEEST because we know that change is not effective unless those most impacted by health inequities are the ones developing and implementing the solutions. Student Organizers design and run campaigns at their schools that have successfully won systemic changes towards their food justice goals (a variety of fresh, free, culturally relevant food options). Another top priority that students identified is the state of mental health at school. Students want stronger culturally affirming social-emotional learning training and curriculum, more representational mental health supports, and more funding for mental health resources. They are also involved at all levels of decision-making at FEEST — from hiring staff to organizational strategic planning to serving on our Board of Directors as alumni!
By investing in and elevating Student Organizers as respected leaders in their communities, FEEST supports youth to become lifelong leaders. As school and district administrators increasingly understand the value of youth in policy-making, young people are in a better position to put forward their own demands and work toward their own solutions.
At FEEST, we support young people of color to gain the knowledge and skills to build power and create the change they want to see in their lives, families, and communities.
Want to support FEEST youth leaders? Join our Big Table monthly giving program to provide sustainable, year-round support!
The FEEST Youth Leader Experience
- Share our joys, experiences, and dreams for our futures
- Assess community needs through direct outreach
- Sharing our stories to connect with our community members
- Building our capacity to dream & envision a new world
- Learn about community organizing
- Practice facilitation, public speaking, and peer outreach
- Practicing creativity, adaptability, and analyzing power
- Learn about systemic oppression and deepen understanding of racial and social justice
- Get inspired by other youth-led organizing movements locally and globally
- Identify power structures in our school systems
Building Youth Power
- Create our demands and strategies to improve health and wellness in schools
- Negotiate our demands directly with decision makers
- Win concrete changes for students around but not limited to school food policy, mental health resources, restorative & transformative justice, and much more!
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Youth are in the lead at FEEST because we know that change is not effective unless those most impacted by health inequities are the decision makers. Support youth leadership by donating today, OR sign up for our newsletter to get the latest from FEEST!