Last month, students from the inaugural cohort of the ROC the Future Youth Leadership Coalition completed a 9-month training session facilitated by SpreadKarma Collective from Baltimore, MD. The Youth Leadership Coalition started from the vision of Kilolo Moyo-White, ROC the Future’s Family and Community Engagement Specialist. Leveraging a national partnership with SpreadKarma Collective, educational consultants Kellie Brown, Rashida Ford and Sherman Barksdale, worked closely with Moyo-White to develop a “Train the Trainer” Youth Leadership Curriculum.
The training program engaged Rochester youth leaders as part of the first ever cohort. Students were provided with a monthly stipend to engage in the training program, while also being prepared to engage and inform the work of ROC the Future, which is designed to improve educational outcomes for Rochester students. What makes the Youth Leadership Coalition unique is that it is comprised of students who are involved with other leadership tables around the community: Teen Empowerment, In Control, Youth Voice One Vision, The New York Charter School Network and the Rochester City School District Youth Council.
We believe in a collective impact approach where we bring existing leaders together to help form solutions to issues in education. Youth voice is critical as every decision made at ROC the Future impacts their outcomes.
A full list of their training sessions is below:
  • What is leadership?
  • What is my leadership style?
  • Who am I as a leader?
  • How are leaders made?
  • Prepared / authentic public speaking skills.
  • Understanding the past and history of youth lead movements around the world.
  • What is systemic racism?
  • What is Implicit Bias?
  • Creating a community call to action
The Youth Leadership Coalition has produced a formal evaluation of the challenges they experience in Rochester and developed their own essential question to evaluate the most pressing issue they see within the city. The following statement was drafted by the Youth Leadership Coalition during their training sessions:
       We, the Youth Leadership Coalition, have been working for a year to find how we as youth leaders can do our part to help ignite change in our community for the better. Through lots of discussion, we have concluded that we must begin with addressing the impact of implicit bias in our schools. 
We have decided to study the following essential question:
How might we increase awareness of implicit bias of public servants so that Black, Indigenous & People of Color have equitable opportunities? 
The next cohort of students will be trained by cohort 1 and will investigate this essential question to take action in the coming year. Cohort 2 will be charged with creating an action plan to address this essential question.
ROC the Future is accepting applications for the next cohort of youth leaders. Deadline to recommend a student is August 31, 2021. Students must be engaged in a youth leadership program in Monroe County to be recommended.