The YDI’s Advocacy and Community Mobilization Project brings together young participants from the Boys & Girls Clubs at the Luis Lloréns Torres Public Housing Project, as well as their families, in order to incorporate their voices to the development of YDI public policy proposals. The project also seeks to provide leadership and advocacy tools so youth and their families can identify problems that affect them, develop solutions and advocate so that these solutions may become a reality.
Recently, our young participants developed a Photo Essay project in the Media Laboratory as part of their summer projects. Their task was to identify a problem that worried and affected them on a day-to-day basis and communicate that problem through images and their own words. One of the problems presented was migration after Hurricane Maria. Through the Photo Essay, they developed the audiovisual concept “Forced Exodus”, which included issues that affect them, such as family separation, fear of losing shared pleasant memories and the pain of losing loved ones after a hurricane.
The concerns of our young participants reflect what the numbers tell us. According to census data, Puerto Rico’s child population saw a 32% reduction between 2006 and 2016. Another surprising fact is that the proportion of the population composed of children under 18 went from 33% in 1990 to 21% in 2016.
For the YDI, incorporating the voice of young people and their families is equally important as the use of data in the development of solutions that would improve the conditions faced by Puerto Rico’s youth. We encourage you to listen to the concerns of our young participants HERE.