CalBike, California Walks, and the California Center for Civic Participation are excited to introduce our very first cohort of Walk & Bike Youth Leaders. We conceived of the Walk & Bike Youth Leaders Program as an opportunity to engage new voices in walk and bike advocacy, and help the next generation of community leaders learn the skills they need to make their neighborhoods safer and healthier places to live.
The eleven individuals chosen to participate in the inaugural program are between ages 16-23 and represent a diversity of communities from across the state. They are passionate about making a difference in their hometowns and for all Californians and eager to learn the ins and outs of advocacy to bring about the needed change for safer streets for all.
From now until October, the youth leaders will participate in four online training sessions to develop and expand their knowledge of advocacy strategies, will complete a PhotoVoice project documenting their neighborhood’s current biking and walking conditions, and attend the California Bicycle Summit in Sacramento in October 2017 to present their projects.
We’re already inspired by the diversity of experiences each participant brings to the Walk & Bike Youth Leaders Program. Follow along their journey throughout the program, and get to know our participants below.
My name is Barbara and I am a 16 year old student attending Golden Valley High School. I have been involved in working with my community for a few years now and I have participated with multiple organizations such as Greenfield Walking Group, Building Healthy Communities, California Walks, and the Dolores Huerta Foundation. I have lived in Kern County for 15 years and my goal is to improve the safety of the diverse communities around Bakersfield. I look forward to working with all of you!
Zelia attends Sacramento City College and works for Councilmember Jay Schenirer in the City of Sacramento. In high school, Zelia spoke on a variety of platforms advocating for youth and access to alternative modes of transportation including the AmericaWalks, New Partners for Smart Growth and CAWalks conferences. Currently, her roles included teaching other activists skills and providing infrastructure support for movements through Sacramento’s Sol Collective, but Zelia is excited to step back into boots on the ground.
Marlene is a graduate of South El Monte High School and is headed to UC Riverside next year. She seeks to make the entire world a better place one step at a time.
My name is Kelly, and I live in Westminster, California. I go to a school in Huntington Beach and will be a senior in the fall. In my free time, I love traveling, spending time with family and friends, and watching crime shows! Most of all, I enjoy service. I have a strong passion for community service, and love to give back to my school and community. Despite my love to sleep, I don’t mind getting up early on the weekends for service. I like finding ways to help others in any way I can and am always striving to seek new opportunities.
My name is Edwin I am 16 years old in high school. I am a youth representative for a group called Youth for Active and Safe Communities (YASC) in the Youth Empowerment Network (YEN) at a local non profit organization named KidWorks. I have been Skateboarding for eight years and I have noticed the need for more skating space for the youth in my community and I. I joined the team because we want to advocate for more safe infrastructure for safe skating. We have been visiting skateparks in other cities, we have conducted a confidence skating course, and also created an event for international Go Skate Day. I am excited to continue my work and share it with other youth doing similar work around active transportation across the state.
Being from Southern California Biking and Walking have been a big part of my life. Now I am able to help my community and change it for the better. Always think global, act local.
East Los Angeles
Omar is an East Los Angeles native and college graduate from Denison University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology. At Denison, Omar’s school projects received recognition for their impact on student campus life. He was on the planning committees for both the Summit of Ohio Latinx (SOL), the first summit for Latinx college students in Ohio, as well as The Nest, an alternative dining experience created with a focus on entrepreneurship and student autonomy. A TEDx talk giver, he has given presentations at national conferences and has been acknowledged for his contributions in the communities he has been a part of. Currently, he is an Urban Futures Lab Fellow with Public Matters where he is working on community and cultural economic development projects around Los Angeles. Omar’s interests are in public health and urban planning, seeking to impact the world through his attention to detail and spontaneous ambition. When not working, Omar spends his free time exercising and pursuing personal interests. He is currently learning front-end web development, reading, running, cycling, and being a better person each day.
Nancy is originally from Richmond, California. She is a recent graduate of Pitzer College, where she majored in Environmental Analysis. Nancy loves bicycling and is committed to increasing safer access to bicycling in working class communities of color. In her spare time, Nancy also enjoys creative writing, making jewelry, and learning how to code.
We’ll add more of our promising program participants as more info comes in.