See sidebar "Lessons from the Youth-Driven Spaces Project"
Wei Wen Balter was a new kid in town when he first set foot in the teen center in Ann Arbor, Mich., known as the Neutral Zone. Some acquaintances had told him about a program at the center that advocated for gay, lesbian and gender-questioning youth.
He had no idea that two years later he’d be a member of organization’s board of directors.
The 17-year-old senior at Skyline High School is now one of 13 teenagers on the 29-person board tasked with governing the center. He reviews financial information and helps make decisions about the operation, among other things.
“It’s a really cool perspective to sit on the board with all of the really experienced and smart adults,” said another teenage board member, Isaac Scobey-Thal, 16.