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March 2019Vol. 20, No. 2Curriculum to Support Youth-Led Organizing

Foster Youth in Action (FYA) released a curriculum intended to support youth-led organizing, which is a key strategy in youth engagement. Youth-led organizing builds on community collaboration led by young people and is bolstered by research and the support of national organizations and stakeholders. An essential part of this approach to youth engagement is youth development, healing, community building, and action that is directly informed by young people most impacted by the child welfare system.

The curriculum, developed by SOUL School of Unity and Liberation in collaboration with FYA and California Youth Connection, focuses on deepening the critical analysis skills of staff and leaders, providing an introduction to organizing theory and practice, and building capacity for base building and campaign and leadership development.

The free 3-day curriculum includes the following components:

  • Collective Storytelling—This segment allows participants to gather and get to know one another. Participants are encouraged to discuss personal topics, such as where they are from, and to reflect on defining moments and events that have impacted their lives.
  • Political Education—This segment focuses on the history of the foster care system and efforts to improve it, a shared analysis of the foster care system and connecting individual experiences to the institutions that impact them.
  • Organizing 101—This segment explores organizing as a distinct method of social change and how to apply organizing principles when working to change the foster care system.
  • From Me to We: Listening to Your Community—This segment focuses on exploring ways to listen to youth in the community, practicing methods of listening and gathering information about problems impacting the community, and exploring ways to select a problem to change.
  • Campaigns 101—This segment focuses on campaigns as a vehicle for exercising collective power to accomplish immediate improvements that lead to systemic change, exploring the basic components of campaign strategy, and learning to use root cause analysis and power mapping as effective campaign tools for improving conditions of youth in foster care.
  • Base Building 101—This segment focuses on exploring base building as an essential component to growing the collective power of young people impacted by the foster care system and using base-building tools and strategies to recruit youth into active membership.

Each segment includes activities, handouts, and additional resources. 

To access the FYA curriculum, visit