The Greater Hartford Youth Leadership Academy (GHYLA) grew out of the original mission of Hartford Communities That Care: To prevent and reduce gun violence. The program brings together youth from middle and high schools from across Hartford for training, research, events, and field trips that support young people to be youth voice leaders in their community. The program is designed to support young people to develop key skills and knowledge.
“Raising Youth Voices” a youth initiative that builds on research conducted by the participating youth into the root causes and local conditions related to urban gun violence – and then recommending strategies and interventions to deal with those problems to local and State government.
Critically conscious youth leadership development is integral to youth policy research, data gathering and analysis, and interviews with community members, as participants learn about the origins of inequities – and strategies to overcome them. Since 2017, we have:
- Researched solutions to alleviate poverty, equalize education, and prevent violence.
- Convened two region-wide "Raising Youth Voices Summits" – lead by youth.
- Presented youth perspectives to State legislative and Congressional delegations, the Hartford City Council, and the March For Our Lives common-sense gun safety events held in Washington D.C., and Newton, CT - and via National Public Radio.
- Developed strategies and interventions using a multi-stage analytic process linking data from root causes to local conditions.
- Adjusted to the pandemic by inventing a virtual podcast series to explore impacts from COVID-19, child injuries, fatality prevention, and local, national, and international social justice issues.