We believe in the power of young people to make a real difference. We are an intergenerational organization, working hand-in-hand with families, adults, youth, and seniors to create lasting change in our neighborhoods and throughout San Francisco.
PODER’s Youth Organizing Program primarily activates Latinx youth, helping them develop organizing skills through political education and actions focused on environmental justice. By participating in and leading initiatives within PODER’s programs and campaigns—focused on housing justice, land reclamation, gardening, and our bike collective—young people actualize community-based solutions that foster healthy, thriving, and equitable communities.
As a young person, you have the opportunity to engage in cross-cultural solidarity, learn critical thinking, and develop organizing skills that will empower you to drive impactful campaigns for healthy and thriving neighborhoods.
Our Common Roots: Youth Organizer Program is a collaborative youth leadership development and environmental justice program between PODER and the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) where we develop cross-cultural/cross-racial solidarity to organize for environmental justice in our communities.
The program was initiated in 1997 in order to build immigrant youth power in San Francisco and create links among our communities. Common Roots youth have been leading work at PODER for decades. Common Roots youth leadership was key in the reclamation of public land at Balboa Upper Yard for affordable housing in 2012. Youth also led extensive neighborhood surveying projects to reclaim lands at Crocker Amazon (now Hummingbird Farm) and at along Brotherhood Way (now Sisterhood Garden) between 2013-2015.
After over two decades of collaboration, we persist in forging cross-cultural and racial solidarity, addressing the environmental and climate crisis with a sense of urgency.
Youth led people-powered solutions:
“I love using art to fight for my community. Art is a way for me to express my feelings about environmental justice”Alijah Mesteyer-Orallo, a 16 year old youth organizer
Beyond our collaboration with Common Roots, Youth Power at PODER nurtures youth leadership through a holistic, skills-based approach, emphasizing art, land-based projects, and biking. As a dynamic group of cross-pollinators, our youth benefit from the full spectrum of PODER’s programs. At PODER, while we regenerate culture, our young leaders practice art as a pivotal tool of resistance, reclaiming our narratives. Our youth have also developed their bike riding and mechanic skills to reclaim bike riding as a vessel for community health and mobility justice. Through their extensive involvement at Hummingbird Farm, youth employ urban farming techniques to nurture both the land and its people. Some of our work has included:
- Working with Plaza 16 Coalition to stop the Monster in Mission.
- Ancestral Food and Medicine Fall Retreats
- Amistad y Solidarity Art Party
- Climate Justice Escuelita Cohort
Join us on this exciting journey as we prepare new leaders for movements that advocate for environmental and economic justice, as well as immigrant rights. Your voice, energy, and ideas are invaluable in shaping a brighter future for all.
Together, we can create a world where our communities thrive, and where the power of young people is harnessed to bring about meaningful change. Get involved today and be part of a movement that is making a real impact in San Francisco and beyond.