Youth Voice Awards

Applications are now closed for the 2020 Youth Voice Awards.

Brooklyn Community Foundation is committed to supporting the leadership and agency of youth in creating community change. The YOUTH VOICE AWARDS (YVA) was a youth-led grantmaking program that saw youth as central players in making decisions around supporting youth-centered and youth-led projects. In partnership with nonprofits and supervising adults, Brooklyn youth applied for small grants to respond to challenges in their neighborhoods or schools.

Youth Voice Awards were about elevating the powerful voices of our youth – youth believe they have the solutions we are looking for and we wanted to support their work through grants!

For Youth, By Youth

The Brooklyn Youth Activists program consisted of a group of 14- to 25-year olds envisioning and working towards radical change in Brooklyn. Activists worked together to create an annual youth conference, deepen their commitment to social justice organizing, and support one another in their personal journeys as activists. The Activists were in charge of the Youth Voice Awards and were responsible for giving out $15,000 in awards and supporting young people’s work in Brooklyn.

Youth Voice Awards recipients got financial support for projects ranging from $500 − $2,000.

To be eligible to apply, youth applicants had to:

  • Be 14-25 years of age
  • Have a partnership with a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization or a school that could serve as your sponsor  

Project Selection Criteria

The Youth Voice Awards supported Brooklyn’s young people working in the following justice pillars. Below are examples to get your creativity going! We believe that these justice pillars intersect and connect with each other, which means your project may fit in one or more of these categories.

Some ideas for projects we would consider:
  • Launch a social media campaign
  • Create conversations on healing our communities
  • Send care packages in your community
  • Connect to a therapist to offer mental health workshops in languages other than English
  • Host virtual Open Mics
* * * Get creative we want to hear what's most important to you! * * *

Applications are now closed.

Application deadline: June 10, 2020
Virtual YVA Celebration and Announcement: June 26, 2020

2020 Youth Voice Awards Winning Projects

Ketia Jeune: The Brave Pod
Grant: $2,000
Partner: The Brave House

The Brave House supports immigrant girls and young women ages 16-24 in New York with a focus on those who are survivors of gender-based violence. We provide free legal support, community space, and holistic services. The Brave Pod podcast will feature women, immigrants, and visionaries who are dreaming big and making an impact in their community. We will explore themes of identity, bravery, and radical self-love.  


Nia Johnson: Black Excellence - Know Your History
Grant: $2,000
Partner: Inspiring Minds NYC

The overall goal of this project is the same reason as to why it is so personal for us as a group. We felt as if for a long time our history was told from one perspective. We wanted to hear our history from our people and also we wanted to know if we had history before slavery. We found it sad we asked that question for so long. We want to ensure that we educate our future leaders to know we have rich roots. We want to empower the young minds of today to insert change for a better tomorrow. We are breaking down Black history, educating youth on laws and their rights and how to implement them when needed. Our goal is to work with rising 9th through 10th grade students. Every student will go through a Rites of Passage that we will co-facilitate with our instructor. 


Jaryanna Rivera: #SayTheirMagicMatters
Grant: $2,000
Partner: S.O.U.L Sisters

Our overall goal of the project is to ultimately allow participants to see a way to get involved in organizing and working towards the vision of their liberation. S.O.U.L. Sisters would like to increase the amount of youth in our organizing base so we can create new opportunities for them, continue to keep young people updated with relevant information that affects their communities, and provide the utmost support in their organizing efforts. As a brown person, it is abhorrent to see the difficulties of what I’ve witnessed, heard and personally experienced reduced down to a paragraph in someone’s book or used for convenience to promote a hashtag. I am very passionate about the historic prejudice and discrimination against women and non-binary youth of color as the intersection between my race and gender has caused many to intentionally leave me out of the conversation. I refuse to stand for it. 


Amanda Lugo: Self Care: Sustaining a Revolution
Grant: $2,000
Partner: Echoes of Incarceration

It’s impossible to separate health, racial justice, and education, and the project I want to do intersects with all of them. The crew of young people I work with at Echoes of Incarceration are all young people directly affected by the criminal justice system. In addition to the everyday struggles that brings, it also means that some of us, like myself, currently have family members incarcerated during the pandemic. Many of us are also out protesting and fighting for change. The mental health stress of all of these situations is real and not talked about enough, and that’s what inspired this project.


Fantasia Monique: BAGS
Grant: $2,000
Partner: Building a Great Start

This project is personal for me because I have been without a bag. I have been the kid who walked into school with a tattered bag or a free bag that only lasted to the middle of the year. When I was awarded the opportunity to go to a different state for a youth conference I was so excited until I realized the only luggage I had was a tattered blue suitcase whose handle was falling off. Luckily the organization offered to buy me a suitcase. I remember being in a shelter and making friends with a 18 year old girl who had just aged out of foster care. They dropped her off at the shelter with nothing but a trashing full of her belongings. It does not matter who you are or where you are going, everyone should have access to good luggage.


Roshawn Gartrell: Mobile Pantry
Grant: $2,500
Partner: Inspiring Minds NYC 

The overall goal of this project is for people who are less fortunate than me to feel supported and provided for. This project is personal for me because the school that I go to, Research and Services has a state of the art pantry. We all have access to the pantry and can bring home 5 items each for our families. I love having this resource in my school and I was sad when I learned that our pantry is empty for the first time. This is how I know how high the needs are, which is why I want to do the pantry. I also remember when I did not have everything I needed and I would wish someone would do something like this. 


Farhana Akther, Ayfa Hayat: Art to Activism
Grant: $2,000
Partner: DRUM NYC 

This summer, we are planning to create videos in English, Bangla, and Urdu and make art around anti-blackness and the impact of police brutality in the South Asian community. We are planning to equip the youth with resources they need to have conversations with their family members about these issues. We are planning to do the videos in different languages so the language doesn’t become a barrier. We are also planning to create a safe space for the youth to share their stories, connect with others, and take care of their mental health. We are planning to use art as both activism and a healing tool. 


Amario Milliner: one sound project
Grant: $500
Partner: Center for Community Alternatives 

The overall goal is for Black LGBT youth to have somewhere they can call home; where they can be loved and not judged. My four main goals are 1.) Create a healing space during process recent events and support each other 2.) Create space to discuss issues of race, white supremacy, how Transgender people are viewed in the Black community 3.) Creating solutions to our barriers and next steps to take as a community to take action and 4.) Support Transgender community youth leaders economically through paid internships.