Guest post by Yasmine S., 2017-2018 Teen Grantmaking Initiative member
On January 21st 2018, Afnan, Alex, Lauren, and myself, all members of CAAP’s Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI), had the opportunity to present at the Neutral Zone’s Inaugural Youth Driven Spaces (YDS) Conference. The conference attendees included youth from groups all over Michigan that have been working to get their voices heard and make positive changes in their communities by using their leadership skills and passion. The conference allowed these teens a platform to both talk about their causes and goals, as well as learn from other groups just like theirs.
In addition to hearing from all these inspiring groups, TGI was also able to hold a session teaching the attendees about youth-led grantmaking and what our group is all about. By presenting with my peers, we not only gained valuable experience and skills, but also were given the opportunity to spread the message of TGI and share our goals and expertise with others so that they may potentially apply some of what they learned to their own youth groups.
My friend Lauren summed up her thoughts on the conference saying:
My experience at YDS was very inspiring. Not only did I get to meet lots of different people, but I also learned a lot about local organizations that I wouldn’t have found out about if it wasn’t for the conference. I enjoyed seeing what groups in different cities were working towards.
All in all, I am very honored and grateful that I got to be a part of such a positive conference that achieved the invaluable mission of empowering youth and allowing them to share the great progress they’ve made in their communities.