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How Can Youth Promote Change?

Collaborating with youth, families, and community organizations to explore the ways that education can be a force for social transformation and liberation.

If you stand up for yourself and what you believe in, can you make change?

Youth are often underestimated by adults, instead of being recognized for their power.  Through creating youth-run spaces, this work brings together youth ages 10-14 to discuss activism, current political topics, and individually-important issues.  This evolves into public art pieces that share youth voice with others.

Contact: Elwin Reyes

How can various forms of media support storytelling?

This collaborative inquiry between a sixth grader and a university scholar explores storytelling through a variety of media, including comic-books, Scratch programming, stop-motion video, video-game movie-making, and puppetry.

Contacts: Alex Pham and Katerine Bielaczyc.

How can elementary students’ voices be centered in the curriculum to incorporate their assets of resiliency?

During two weeks, young fifth graders engage in a critical analysis of neighborhood, city, state, and world through knowledge maps, studying the experiential geographies of their lived experiences. The creation of these maps allows teachers to build relationships and shape meaningful and relevant curriculum.

Contacts: Sherilynne Parretti and Carmen Ocón.

How can youth create platforms for their peers to have a voice in their cities and their lives?

The Hiatt Youth Council involves high school students in developing social injustice and youth voice projects throughout the year, which they then share with youth across Central Massachusetts at the annual Hiatt Youth Summit on Race and Education.

Contacts: Linda Mindaye and Raphael Rogers.

How can we create space for empowering, cultivating, and amplifying youth voices by using poetry translation, arts, music, dance and performance?

The In Our Own Words Poetry and Art Club is a collaborative involving Clark undergraduates and local high school students as creators, teachers, and learners. Inspired by in-depth work with language from translating poems from around the world, we write our own poems, produce our own art, and perform our own stories together. The goal is to recruit everyone’s cultural and linguistic assets, producing work of consequence, and in the process, translating ourselves, our community, and the world around us.

Contact: Sarah Michaels

What do bilingual youth learn about themselves and others in researching poetry translation?

Every year, an intergenerational group of practitioner-inquirers (university faculty, undergraduates, high school ESL teacher, and high school seniors) have come together to document and theorize the nature and impact of an innovative multiliteracies-aligned program, Poetry Inside Out (PIO).

Contacts: Lori Simpson and Jie Park

How can school councils be a mechanism for student voice in school revitalization?

Based in the creation of an elementary school student council, this project explored the roles that students can play in conversations about school issues.

Contact: Elwin Reyes

SPIT-IT! (Storytelling Project Incorporating Technology for Ideological Transformation) created an afterschool space for Worcester youth to write, direct and produce documentaries exploring the power of storytelling, counter-narratives and youth as agents of personal, social and civic change. Each year of the program immersed 12 local-area youth in a 16-week program focused on critical media literacy and documentary filmmaking techniques.

Contact: Eric DeMeulenaere

Contact Information

Hiatt Center for Urban Education

Office Location
  • Jonas Clark Hall
    Clark University
    Worcester, Massachusetts 01610

  • 1-508-793-7722
  • 1-508-793-8864 Fax