Youth Visionary Collective 2021 Yearly Report
Roots & Routes IC is abundantly thankful to all who have made the Youth Visionary Collective (YVC) possible, and especially to the Peaceful World Foundation, whose grant made our program possible. This report was written to document what the Youth Visionary Collective was able to accomplish during the Roots & Routes — Peaceful World Foundation 2021 collaboration.
The YVC is an inspiring and vital program to our organization — a virtual platform that reaches across cultural differences in the name of collaborative action. A principal aim of the YVC is to expand the networks and perspectives of youth across the U.S, and to interconnect them with the world. Simultaneously, the interns are coming together to learn about the inner workings of an organization while bringing their skills to the table to collaboratively build one. What follows is a report bringing together the accomplishments of the YVC.
Sunday Guest Speakers
In the name of reciprocity, every other Sunday Roots & Routes arranges an educational event for YVC interns. Indigenous leaders from Alaska to the Amazon, and from California to Sweden (Yes! There are Indigenous peoples in Europe!), Zoom in to speak with the youth — a beloved event amongst R&R interns. In the past year, we have been able to hear from the whole gamut of peace-with-justice changemakers in the world: a linguist, a UN advocate for disability, a pro-forest and anti-mining activist, an African organizational director working for the Health of Mother Earth, a professor of Native American Studies, an entrepreneur, a filmmaker, and the Executive Director of the Peaceful World Foundation.
The youth have been able to learn from and converse with world leaders with whom personal contact would have been very difficult otherwise. The inspiration and support that they gathered from continuing with their own passions has been priceless. At the end of the season, when we go around and share in an exercise called “Rose and Thorn” in which youth name what they loved and what could be improved, Sundays with the guest speakers have been most frequently highlighted.
To explore the depths of the themes that the Youth Visionary Collective were able to traverse together with our invited speakers, please see our newsletter, Seasonal Offerings. See both Seasonal Offerings #1: Teaching Decoloniality (Summer) and Seasonal Offerings #2: Re-storying Our Relations (Fall). You can sign up for R&R’s Seasonal Offerings Bulletin on the bottom of the page.
The YVC Teams
Like a child, the lifepath of an organization of people is ever-transitioning. Due to the YVC’s evolution, Roots & Routes’ strategic ways forward have transformed in unexpected and inspiring ways. Together the youth and I have been able to come up with a fantastic system that we are forever tweaking as we learn from our mistakes or simply from our reflections on the creative process. The teams meet one day of every week for an hour — one week with me, and the next, on their own. What follows is an overview of the six teams and all they have achieved in the past year:
- Steering Team. YVC’s Steering Team has two main committees.
A. Planning: This committee of the Steering Team writes the weekly agendas and have written the interviews for the guest speakers.
B. Funding: The funding committee of the Steering Team researches potential partners for the YVC, other programs, and R&R as a whole.
3. Blogs. They write R&R blogs on our webpage on the foundations of the social media building blocks and then bundle the blogs together in the Seasonal Offerings newsletter.
4. Podcast. They edit the interviews with our guest speakers to form what we want to share through the podcast we are creating called “Re-storying the World”. We have been working on all the behind the scenes organizing on this. The team has 5 podcast episodes complete. Once we have 8, we will have a launch party!
5. Pluriversity. Besides configuring how we can use all the aforementioned materials in a course format, the Pluriversity Team is creating a pilot course called, “What is a Pluriversity?” This will educate people about what a pluriversity is, what Roots & Routes is becoming and give people the opportunity to experience how it works.
So, what is a pluriversity you ask? Roots & Routes Pluriversity is a central web-based hub for education that brings people of diverse cultures together to better care for one another and all life on Earth. We put into conversation (and action) important ancestral cultural sciences that do not need reinterpretation into dominant frameworks to be valid. They already are! The web and on-the-ground programs allow us to enhance the ability of people to interconnect across diverse cultural contexts.
6. Rights of Nature (RoN). The RoN team is R&R’s Spanish-speaking team. They work towards vindicating the rights of the Ecuadorian Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples’ human and Nature’s rights through creating Spanish-speaking social media pages that are now under construction and coming soon.
In sum, over the past year, the youth worked hard to understand the ins and outs of our programs so that they could learn how to write and to contribute to writing our organizational-wide and program-based Letters of Intent. Similarly, we have been able to put together an extensive database of funding organizations.
As an organization in 2021, we were able to generate $58,927.65. Although this last funding cycle, Peaceful World Foundation was the primary funder of the YVC program, with our YVC Letters of Intent in our back pocket, we are prepared to invite many more foundations and philanthropists to fund this program and Roots & Routes as a whole. Again, this has only been possible thanks to the trust our contributors have had in us as a new organization. Thank you to the Peaceful World Foundation, Rainforest Action Network, Amazon Watch, the Cultural Conservatory, Hidden Leaf Foundation, Lush Charity Pot, and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots for believing in us and for making Roots & Routes Pluriversity, a California-based international learning platform and living network a reality.
Measuring Success: Creating Peace across Cultural Differences
This next section will provide you a peek into the ways that we are measuring success, i.e., creating and expanding possibilities for peace across cultural differences. At Roots & Routes, we are proud, amazed, and grateful for how far we have come in 2021, just one cycle around the sun.
NUMBER OF R&R YVC INTERNS & COUNTRIES
As indicated in the bar graph in Figure 1, we have had between 20–30 interns each season. The blue indicates the number of interns and the green the number of countries during 5 seasons: Winter 2021 through Winter 2022 seasons. There is a steady rise in the number of interns, and an increase in the number of countries Spring through Fall, but then a decrease in winter. This is because we had a strong relationship and solid participation with youth from across Europe in the Development Studies MA program at Lund University spring through fall, who then moved on to write their theses. The Fall season was also very exciting because we had several youth from across countries in the continent of Africa.
TOTAL YVC PARTICIPATION WINTER 2021 TO WINTER 2022
This pie chart below shows that although we have had a great deal of participation of youth based in Ecuador, Sweden, Scotland, Nigeria, Canada, and Spain (in this order) during the one-year cycle around the sun, 38.8% of the YVC interns have been from the United States.
Out of the youth from the U.S, half of them have been based in California. This indicates that the YVC is effective in serving California youth, while also expanding their networks and perspectives. Other participating youth in the past year have been based in North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia.
Lastly, this bar graph below shows the 27 countries across the world that our youth have been based in. It also indicates the number of YVC interns per country. R&R is proud that five of the seven continents have been represented in our teams during the Winter 2021 to Winter 2022 seasons. Talk about expanding the horizons of California youth (and of youth of all places) and going beyond the educational limitations of brick-and-mortar institutions!
Circling Back to Gratitude
It has been a great opportunity to work with all our interns this past year, as well as hearing from all the guest speakers that have left seeds of inspiration along the way. We thank every single person for their participation in the YVC this past year, no matter how big or small. Roots & Routes has grown immensely as an organization as a result of the YVC. ithout each and every youth intern and all of you, we would not be what we are today. Thank you.
Along this same vein of actualizing potentialities, we at Roots & Routes are looking forward to another year collaborating with the Peaceful World Foundation, who has generously granted us a second year of YVC funding!
Check out our blog, “Name of Blog with hyperlink”, about the lessons learned and inspiration received when Heidi joined the YVC during Winter season 2021. April 24th, Heidi and I just completed another nourishing YVC conversation for all of us about decolonizing development. Throughout 2022, Heidi and I are holding seasonal dialogues that weave together our distinct experiences living with rainforest communities in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Coast of Ecuador, along the border with Colombia.
I am excited to continue conversing with Heidi about themes related to development, putting formal education into practice, and following one’s passion along the way of the sometimes tumultuous — but always worthwhile — road to peace-with-justice. While building on the foundations of inter-organizational PWF-R&R collaborative relations established during the 2021 funding cycle, sharing these stories with the YVC interns will hopefully inspire them to amplify what they love too.
A special note of gratitude to all youth interns! I am learning so much from you all. Thank you for propagating and strengthening diverse cultural sustainabilities of the heart. Hand-in-hand, we bring people of diverse cultures together to better take care of one another and all life on Earth.
Thank you to the Peaceful World Foundation for making the past year’s achievements possible, and for the recent $10,000 contribution. It will go a long way to support us in our next endeavors. As many of you know, Roots & Routes, is working to become an online and in-person pluriversity (educational network bringing together many cultural ways of knowing). Part of this would be youth learning directly from place-based communities in Ecuador — whether organized semesters, summer programs, spring break programs, or internship placements.
R&R is organizing a group of YVC interns to travel to Ecuador to form part of an exploratory council to create programs for the youth, designed by the youth. This is planned for this summer (and yes, it is coming up soon!). Options are the Andean community of San Clemente, the Cloud forest community of Intag, and perhaps a trip into an Awá village and/or the Amazon (more expensive).