Youth Empowered Network

Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy, and mutual valuing. 

Rollo May

There is a lot of movement taking place in Klamath County. We desire to amplify the youth voice to impact access, quality, and gaps in services. We are forming the Youth Empowered Network (YEN) in place of the former Youth Development Network. There are many changes that will be made to the networks' purpose and infrastructure. We believe that providing an inclusive, public network will begin to expose any system barriers or limitations for youth. We will also work collaboratively to provide individuals with the skills and knowledge required to move beyond poverty & unhealthy behaviors in order to attain a quality-of-life.

YEN will be a network of young people and youth-serving agencies who facilitate both online and in-person networking. We strive to build a supportive, cohesive and cooperative community to ensure that all young people in Klamath County have access to high quality programs and services, caring adults, and the education and tools to be able to advocate for their needs.

YEN aims to:

  • Catalyze and energize agencies and groups that serve youth;
  • Champion best practices and legislative policies to ensure quality opportunities for all young people;
  • Convene youth and youth service professionals for training, mentoring, and capacity-building; and
  • Connect those in the community working toward the common goal of preparing young people for lifelong success.

Once YEN is developed we will be prepared to provide an annual Youth Leadership & Prevention Summit in the Fall and an annual Youth Equity Summit (equity, diversity, inclusion w/emphasis on homelessness) in the Spring. Both summits will include agencies, youth leaders, youth with lived experience, parents and community members who are interested in learning and helping to make change in the community.

Community partners and experts will hold interactive breakout sessions resulting in youth gaining a better understanding of local services and providing input and suggestions on how to improve services and remove barriers (from the youth lens). Youth leaders from Youth Rising, Public Health, Tribal Health, and schools will be invited to lead their own breakout sessions.

We will bring in keynote speakers and experts from outside the community to highlight a key topic and innovative approach to impact poverty, prevention of risky behaviors, increasing employable skills, and understanding areas where agencies and the community as a whole may be able to improve upon our outlook and interactions correlated to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Participants interested in specific initiatives and projects envisioned during the summit will be added to online work groups. The work that began at the summit will shift into ongoing action steps.

Studies show that one-day youth events have very little impact on long-term change. We want to use these collaborative summits to catapult movement, discussions, a heightened awareness and understanding that leads to real behavior, systems, and environmental change.

Youth Rising and our programs and services encourage equity through the emphasis on youth voice across the community. The Youth Empowered Network provides us with another way to reach further out into the community on a grassroots level to empower youth and families to advocate for the changes they want to see. We have a history of successfully implementing community-wide summits and events. We provided the Youth Leadership & Prevention Summit focused on sexual assault and unhealthy relationships, substance abuse, and suicide/mental health. Over 40% of youth in attendance were from Hispanic or Tribal communities, and 50% were from two rural locations more than 20 minutes from the city limits.