Worcester Youth Cooperatives is a youth collective on a mission to support THE POWER OF YOUTH to organize cooperative solutions to social issues they care about.
|We pursue our mission through a three-pronged approach:|
1) We advance the leadership of youth and young adults by placing all decision-making power in their hands. As a society we must trust the youth, rely on them and respect their initiative to the highest degree. “Adult ally” and “Elder” members must apply, prove themselves, and be accepted by the youth. Adult allies and Elders are empowered to provide meaningful guidance and advice when necessary, but do not have decision-making or voting power. The role of the allies and elders is to organize a support system around the youth’s goals in ways that respects their wisdom and autonomy.
2) We Facilitate a year-round educational and mentorship program anchored by a 24-week “Cooperative Solutions Academy” in which working-class youth and young adults gain access to the Experiences, Knowledge, Conditions, Resources, and Relationships (see “our commitment” below) to build “cooperative solutions to social issues they are about.”
3) We Encourage participants to create different kinds of “cooperative solutions,” especially Worker-Owned Cooperatives and Serve-The-People programs. Participants democratically decide how to allocate surplus revenue from their Worker-Owned Cooperatives to sustain Serve-The-People programs which provide free goods and/or services to marginalized communities. Through personal and economic participation in “cooperative solutions” of various forms, youth and young adults develop a deep commitment to the well-being of their community in the course of deepening their understanding of social issues through cooperative problem-solving.
|Our Commitment |
We are committed to creating access to the Experiences, Knowledge, Conditions, Resources, and Relationships for youth and young adults to organize communities in solving social issues they care about:
Experiences – Hands-on experience in the organizational, social, financial, legal, and practical aspects of sustaining “cooperative solutions.”
Knowledge – Popular education (consciousness-raising) sessions integrated within multi-track courses in the different aspects of participatory action-research and cooperative economic development, and community organizing. The knowledge we distribute includes a critical approach to learning the historical and environmental history of the communities in which they implement their projects.
Conditions – A safe, supportive, grounding, and validating social group that acknowledges their intersecting identities and complex experiences. We support one another in being self-accountable for harms we may unintentionally inflict upon one another in the course of our journey. For this reason, we are explicitly pro-queer and work to rigorously deconstruct white supremacist notions of gender. We use trauma-informed and survivor-centered healing practices to prevent and address conflicts and promote safe handling of the treacherous contradictions associated with the struggle to build a new world in the shell of the old.
Resources – Wages and/or stipends during training and project-based learning. Sustain rigorous grassroots fundraising campaigns. We won’t train the youth to settle for less. We create access to all the technology and tools necessary for the youth to succeed in their endeavors.
Relationships – We cultivate and maintain connections to local, regional, and national experts in youth leadership and cooperative economic development.