Youth Action Project (YAP)
Frequently Asked Questions
• What is the Youth Action Project?
A team of experienced facilitators provide a safe and challenging space, geared toward youth of ALL ethnic backgrounds, who are committed to understanding and dismantling white supremacy white privilege, and all forms of oppression.
• When does it take place?
The next YAP is during #WPC25Tulsa, April 3-6, 2024, in Tulsa, OK.
• What are the intended outcomes of the Youth Action Project and the Youth Institute?
YAP is designed for students to come away with strategies to make change when they see, name, act, and continue to make a difference for the community.
1. SEE and be fully aware of the multiple manifestations of white supremacy, white privilege, and other forms of oppression.
2. Have the courage and confidence to NAME white supremacy, white privilege, and other forms of oppression.
3. ACT by taking effective, creative, and urgent measures to dismantle white supremacy, white privilege, and other forms of oppression.
4. PROCEED as leaders, planting ongoing seeds of change.
• What are some YAP activities?
Youth Action Project
Competence of key terms
Ethnic affinity groups
Youth friendly film viewing with adult allies
Individual and group reflection
Regional action planning
Youth led dialogue
Creative arts based break-outs
• Do mentors/chaperones have to attend YAP with the students?
No, mentors/chaperones will be responsible for checking students in and out at the opening and close of the day. We encourage mentors/chaperones to fully participate in WPC and attend sessions of their choosing. However, traditionally, we have requested mentors/chaperones to join YAP on Friday for the opening ceremony.
• How many chaperones are needed?
WPC does not require a specific adult to student ratio. Most often, this is determined by schools/districts. Youth allies will be with the students during the YAP workshops but after students are released, WPC/YAP is not responsible for the oversight (overnight stay) of students.
• Can youth attend adult workshops?
On Saturday, students participating in YAP are allowed to choose their workshops (not facilitated by YAP). We identify “youth friendly” workshops in the conference program and we also make all of our workshop presenters aware that youth may be amongst their audience so they can plan accordingly. YAP gathers together following the workshops to debrief, discuss and digest those experiences.
• Can middle school students attend YAP?
No, wait yes, if they are ready! Our curriculum is age appropriate and targeted for high school students. Therefore, we don’t allow middle school students to attend YAP, unless they are ready, and all the release papers are signed and the chaperones are present and available 24/7. Typically, our participants must be in 9-12th grades. There is a one-day institute designed for middle school students which is on Wednesday, April 3rd.
YAP FACILITATORS – #WPC25Tulsa
Jamal K. Givens, M.Ed., is a true advocate for prevention and youth empowerment. With over 20 years of experience in the field of Prevention, Jamal's journey and extensive expertise are sure to captivate and inspire.
From his beginnings at the University of Arizona, where he obtained a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Criminal Justice, to his master’s degree in education with an emphasis on counseling, Jamal has dedicated his career to making a positive impact on the lives of others. As the President and CEO of LPKNC, a renowned prevention organization, Jamal is committed to addressing substance misuse and abuse, while promoting mental health and wellness among youth, families, and communities.
Jamal's work has taken him on a path of addressing critical issues such as bullying, violence, teenage pregnancy, delinquency, school-drop, family management, substance use-misuse, mental health, and suicide prevention. His expertise doesn't stop there – Jamal has also played a pivotal role in reviewing prevention grants for both the State of Arizona and the Federal Government, showcasing his commitment to driving change at every level.
Zion Givens, a charismatic and dedicated professional, stands at the forefront of youth empowerment and prevention efforts. As the co-founder of "Up to It," Zion has been instrumental in fostering stronger connections within families and communities through open and constructive conversations. His innovative approach to navigating tough topics has made a lasting impact on the lives of countless youth and families. Beyond his role as co-founder, Zion is the enthusiastic host of the "Up to It" podcast, where his father Jamal and he share insight, stories, and practical tips on navigating life's challenges. Their podcast serves as a valuable resource for individuals seeking guidance and inspiration in building resilient connections.
Zion's journey in the field of youth prevention has seen him working directly with both youth and families as a presenter and facilitator. His engaging presentations and workshops aim to bridge gaps in understanding and communication, empowering individuals to navigate life's complexities with confidence.
Zion's leadership extends to his involvement in prevention teams, where he has played a pivotal role in shaping strategies and initiatives. Recognized for his exceptional public speaking skills, Zion has not only presented to diverse audiences but has also trained others, inspiring them to become impactful public speakers in their own right.
In essence, Zion Givens embodies a vibrant force in youth empowerment, contributing significantly to creating resilient and connected communities. Brace yourself for an engaging and enlightening journey with this passionate professional!
Laura Jones is native of Chicago, IL, graduated from St. Norbert College, where she studied Sociology and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. After graduation, started her professional career at the Boys and Girls Club as a STAR (Scholars on Target to Achieve Results) Coordinator working with Black/African American students to close the opportunity gap. After which she was brought on board to African Heritage, Inc. as the Social and Community Outreach Service Director after years of volunteering with the organization. She earned her master’s degree in student affairs administration in May 2021 and is working towards her doctoral degree in educational management.
She currently works for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay as a career advisor. In addition to the community work Laura does with African Heritage, Inc., she also works closely with The Privilege Institute as a Youth Action Project Leader facilitating workshops on issues around diversity, and equity, while providing strategies and solutions for youth participants.
Laura serves as a mentor and program director with Lovin’ the Skin I’m In, a non-profit organization empowering and uplifting girls who identify as African American, Black or biracial in Northeast Wisconsin while developing their gifts, talents, and leadership skills. She has been a Big Sister during the Umoja experience since 2014 and now supports recruiting college students for Umoja and creates the curriculum for the children. With her experience, Laura co-authored the book, Teaching Beautiful, Brilliant Black Girls. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Her future aspirations are to include becoming a vice president at a college/university and lastly a president of a college/university.
Russell Marsh has been a musician, educator and consultant in the New York Metro area for over 20 years. He developed his passion for equity and inclusion work while teaching at his Alma mater in Newark, NJ.
Currently, he is an equity educator at a private school in New York City where, in addition to other responsibilities, he is charged to look at curriculum and its impact on identity development. He is also a contributing author for The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys.
From Milwaukee, WI, Tori McNeal earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from St. Norbert College in 2015 and earned her Master’s of Science in Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2021.
She was named one of 51 influential Black Leaders in the state of Wisconsin in 2023 and a finalist for the 2024 Future 15 & Young Professional of the year awards.
In her professional role, Tori works with students on academic probation, helps to recruit and retain students who identify as Black or African American and co-teaches a course related to academic success. In addition, she dedicates free time to volunteer in her community and has been with YAP since 2019.