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My American Dream: Borderlands and Belonging

My American Dream: Borderlands and Belonging This past fall, the Rural Youth Catalyst Project announced our partnership with PBS American Portrait: A National Storytelling Project.  Utilizing themes from the American Portrait Project, we asked rural young people from across the country to respond to our prompt “My American Dream: Borderlands and Belonging,” which sought stories about the meaning and pursuit of the American dream and the obstacles people face as they strive to make their dreams come true.   This week we share the voices of three young adults and community leaders from Alamosa, Colorado: Eliasa Chavez, Garrett Pearson, and Katy Plumb.

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Rural and Native Youth: Submit to PBS American Portrait

Rural and Native Youth: Submit to PBS American Portrait Through our Rural and Native Youth Initiative, we are thrilled to announce a partnership with PBS American Portrait: A National Storytelling Project.  PBS American Portrait is an ongoing, evolving initiative that is asking for people all across the country to contribute their experiences and perspectives to create a documentary series that captures the diversity and realities of our country. They need to hear from rural and Native young people! You can contribute a photo, a video that you take on your phone, a short paragraph, a poem, or an interview style piece that you do

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Gabriella Staykova: Fleming County Offers a New Model for Student Councils

This was first published on The Student Voice Forum. There’s only so much prom planning and election campaigning student council members can do before they hunger for something more. But many students feel limited by an archaic model which leaves them with no true representation in school decisions save for the planning of school dances and spirit weeks.  A new system for high school student government is in order, and Fleming County High School, located in Appalachian Kentucky, offers a path forward.  Fleming County High School’s 700 students are scattered across the county, with most living in small, unincorporated communities.

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Upcoming Opportunities for Rural Youth from CIRCLE

Our partners at the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) based at the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University have announced two great leadership opportunities for young people ages 14-24. They are seeking applications from young people across the country and would love to have rural and Native youth as part of each project. The first project is called REP US and will explore the role that youth media creation and more diverse youth voices in media can support more young people engaged in elections. CIRCLE will produce new research and use this

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Ramos working in Youth Build Kitchen

Renee Ramos: Rural and Native Young People Respond to COVID-19

Across the country, rural and Native young people are serving on the front lines of this pandemic as essential workers and leading in service roles for their communities. For many of these young people, they are managing challenging circumstances at home while simultaneously stepping up to serve their communities. In the coming weeks, we will be asking rural and Native young people for their perspectives, experiences, and responses to COVID-19.  We start with a spotlight on Renee Ramos in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Renee was selected to represent her community at the Rural Youth Assembly Summit. She is a student

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Sadie Bograd

Sadie Bograd: Kentucky Student Council Association Test Optional Interview

This conversation was conducted, transcribed, and edited by Sadie Bograd, who also wrote the introduction. Sadie is a junior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, Kentucky, and the editor-in-chief of the Student Voice Forum, a publication of the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team, a student-led Kentucky education advocacy organization. This piece is part of a series on the #TestOptionalNOW campaign. For more information, visit Student Voice’s website or sign the petition. With graduation and prom likely canceled and classes moved online, students are facing a spring semester that looks very different from that of a few months ago.

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Laney Taylor: Lincoln’s Deaf Ears

Laney Taylor is a senior studying political science at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. She has served as a Bonner Leader, member of the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team, and higher education legislative intern for Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53). As a first-generation college student, she is eager to continue amplifying and elevating the voices of our least-heard students.  I fear that my parents’ sacrifices will be swept away by the raging sea of this pandemic. It is a gift to carry the weight of their dreams and worries onto my college campus, even if it makes it that much harder to

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Mable Starks of Pro-consulting Inc.

Mable Starks: No Longer Invisible

Mable Starks is a consultant with pro-consulting Inc. Previously, she has served as director of North Tulsa YWCA in Oklahoma, Director of Employment and Training for Westhab Inc., Superintendant of Liberty Faith Country Day School in the Poconos, Director of the YouthBuild program for 7 years, and President/CEO of Mississippi Action for Community Education Inc. Mable’s passion for working with young people can be traced back to her pre-professional days.  Whether she was tutoring young men in her neighborhood, providing informal mentorship, or being part of the campus student body at Mississippi Valley State University, Mable has always been on

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Sarah Pytalski

Sarah Cline Pytalski: On Becoming a Steelhead

Sarah Cline Pytalski has more than a decade of experience in rural community advocacy with a strong background in research and writing, project management, evaluation and strategic communications. As Senior Associate at Burness, she supports the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with a focus on rural, data, and community power-building initiatives. Prior to Burness, Sarah served as Policy Research & Evaluation Manager at the National Congress of American Indians and as Policy Program Manager for Rural Dynamics. She has a Master of Public Policy with a rural policy concentration from Oregon State University and a bachelor’s in international development from McGill

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