Founded in 1997, the Collaborative (formerly the UCCP) began youth programming in 2001 with a single program (VOICES) and one part-time staff person. Since then, we have developed a continuum that provides opportunities for older youth over a multi-year period, launched an award-winning youth produced TV News Show, and provided technical assistance to nonprofits, educational institutions, and government agencies on a range of youth related topics. We have increased our full-time staff to 5 and developed a very strong Leaders Corps of approximately 15 college students who serve as part-time staff. Building a leadership pipeline, we have hired many former program participants to be part of the Leaders Corps.
We have also partnered with organizations locally, nationally, and in South Africa, advocating for policies, programs, and practices that better serve the interests and healthy development of young people. These collaborations have addressed issues such as the school to prison pipeline, foster care, budget cuts to education, sexual consent, the juvenile justice system, and mental health.
Former participants and Leaders Corps members have continued their social justice work in their schools, communities, and workplaces. Many are now working in the nonprofit and educational sectors, taking their knowledge of just and fair practices with them.
Support has come from foundations, federal, state, and local governments, and individual donors.