News Briefs: Archives 2011 & Earlier

Youths in Programs Rally for Youth Policies

Loud State-ments: Program participants and alumni from around the country rally in Washington for juvenile justice reform.

Photo: YouthBuild

Washington—More than 500 young leaders, most of them participants or alumni of youth-serving programs, came from around the country last month to press lawmakers to reform juvenile justice policies and fight poverty.

The MTV-sponsored event, dubbed “Our America,” included poetry and dance performances, an appearance by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), and young speakers who were former participants in such programs as YouthBuild, City Year, Year Up and The Corps Network.

“I dropped out, I got locked up,” said 23-year-old Rashawn Facey-Castillo, an alumnus of Year Up, looking back on his days growing up in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. He said he was caught between two philosophies often uttered on the streets: “Seize the day, tomorrow is never promised; and yet, tomorrow is only there for those who prepare for it.”

Facey-Castillo is now pursuing a master’s degree in business.

The central message from the speakers and attendees: Send fewer youths to jail, and help them avoid landing there.

“They don’t rehabilitate you at all,” one attendee from Camden, N.J., said about the juvenile facilities in his area. “They just tell us when we can eat, go to the bathroom, when to sleep.”

The audience also got a surprise visit from the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

“You are not the future; you are the right now,” Jackson told the pepped-up crowd at the Lincoln Theater. “You can make the choice for a future over a funeral right now. You can dry up the drug market right now.”

YouthBuild USA used the event to release “The Declaration of Inter-dependence,” the third iteration of a policy statement created by its National Alumni Council and Young Leaders Council, which recommends ways to improve the lives of low-income youth. Among its recommendations: Increase access to computer literacy training, improve screening of foster parents, and examine the possible economic incentives for incarcerating young adults at “for-profit prisons.”

YouthBuild participants also visited Capitol Hill to share their views on poverty issues with congressmen. Kerry encouraged them to not mince their words.

“Give them hell, will ya please?” the senator said.


Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.


Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.


We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)

Recent Comments




Kennesaw State University Mountain Logo & Ceneter for Sustainable Journalism Logo
LOGO Institute for Nonprofit News 3 turquoise boxes stacked in "J" shape

Copyright © 2018 Youth Today and MVP Themes --- Published by Center for Sustainable Journalism,
Kennesaw State University, 1200 Chastain Blvd. Suite 310, Kennesaw GA 30144

To Top