Introducing Jackson Youth Elevators of Tomorrow: Mississippi’s Brand New Youth Organizing Group

Jun 29, 2021 | IDEA Blog

There’s a New Youth Organizing Group in Town!

We are beyond excited to shine light on Jackson, Mississippi’s very own youth organizing group: Jackson Youth Elevators of Tomorrow (JYEOT)!! Don’t miss student-leader Jas Taylor’s written piece at the bottom of this blog!

In a nutshell: JYEOT is group of Jackson Public School student leaders and high school students engaging in in-depth learning and work surrounding leadership skills and research on relevant social issues of their choosing. All pieces of their work will be created to elevate student voices and allow participants to work on the issues that concern them the most and have a direct impact on their lives. JYEOT’s efforts are supported by IDEA and JPS as part of a Youth Action Participatory Research (YPAR) project and showcase for 2021-22.

This powerful cohort of youth organizers is making the most of the occasion. Each weekend, the youth leaders of JYEOT are casting their visions, dreams, and passion forward and building the foundation of what will surely pave new pathways for youth in Jackson.

Eight youth leaders will continue to convene all summer long. Once the next semester opens up, JYEOT will welcome in dozens more students from JPS in a collaborative effort to advance a collective youth vision for Jackson and public education.

Originally posted by Rosaline McCoy, Mississippi Parent and Family Coordinator with IDEA

The goals of this youth participatory action group:

  • To provide upper-high school student leaders with in-depth training on leadership skills and research skills that they can take into their college experience and careers.
  • To deepen student knowledge of social issues that affect their own lives and ways to take informed action to create change surrounding those issues.
  • To inform the public of the issues that are affecting student lives through the eyes of students in Jackson and to showcase the strength and knowledge of JPS students through their action-based research projects, media output, and presentations addressing those issues.

The summer’s heating up, and Jackson youth are just getting started!

Student Leader, Jas Taylor, writes on the experience of JYEOT

Jas Taylor is a rising 12th grader from Callaway High School and student leader in JYEOT

Jackson Youth Elevators of Tomorrow Experience, by Jas Taylor
As a student leader of JYEOT, this program has not only surrounded me with loving people since day one, but it has also given me an understanding of the bigger picture for Jackson, MS. I have obtained much new knowledge about Jackson in this program by understanding and analyzing every aspect in our community. The IDEA program has laid the groundwork for Jacksonian young people to be more visible and heard in our schools and throughout the city.

You may be wondering what the big picture is-so I’ll explain it. During the first meetings, our mentors gave us an assignment to do where we had to draw a layout of our environment and continuously break it down. We did this by noticing both the good and the bad in our community and in our city. Throughout this process, we were able to fully look at every aspect of our living, schooling, and environmental conditions. Once we opened up to one another about our own experiences, we noticed that, no matter how different we were or where we came from, we all had one goal in mind and that was to support and guide our community.

Then I realized that repeatedly breaking down our environment, focusing on the good and bad, and understanding every person from their point of view were all just ploys to get us to see how Jackson, MS had shaped us. Elements such as wisdom and compassion for others are just some of the many capabilities and lessons that we have all learned. For example, when we were reflecting back on our neighborhoods and community, we noticed how a big part of ourselves was instilled in us by Jackson. One of my peers hopes to adopt at a young age because she saw how many children in Jackson were constantly being put into the foster care system and how some of those kids never got a chance to feel motherly love. Another noticed how Jackson is a city of hidden talent, but instead of remaining invisible, she plans to go to Broadway in order to bring the spotlight back to Jackson, MS. Lastly, we recognized we have the biggest JROTC program in Mississippi and some of the best army instructors to inspire, guide, and motivate all of their cadets and have inspired one of us to join the army to show the strength of Jacksonians.

The IDEA program was created to not only help build leaders of today and tomorrow, but also to expand the minds of our community by focusing on the bigger picture.

Want to know more about Jackson Youth Elevators of Tomorrow and IDEA’s work in Jackson?

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