Following 20 successful years of the Cherry Creek Diversity Conference held annually in Colorado, YCD was created in 2014 to replicate this model for young people across the country.
We create conferences, workshops, events and experiences for high school and college-aged youth that celebrate human diversity and provide students with an opportunity to share ideas relating to human diversity in a cooperative atmosphere.
Youth Celebrate Diversity is dedicated to educating and empowering in order to advance equity for all.
Our mission includes three pillars:
- Education: We believe that education is a fundamental human right, and one of the critical tools every young person needs to succeed in life. At the same time, teens do not always feel safe in their school environments to make the best use of their education; they can often be preoccupied, impacted or even injured by a number of social problems present in their schools. YCD strives to help teens, teachers and community partners address these issues head-on so that every student is free to get the education they deserve.
- Empowerment: We believe that change must come from within a community, and not from outside forces. In this spirit, we work to empower teens and teachers to make a difference in their local schools and communities, addressing the social problems they are experiencing using solutions they have decided meet their needs. We are the opposite of “one-size-fits-all” and we welcome innovative approaches to addressing the issues our teens are facing. YCD provides as many resources, connections and suggestions as possible in this process, but we ultimately work to empower youth to drive change.
- Equity: A young person’s education in high school and college is particularly important to determining his or her future, in the form of earning potential (money), social potential (connections), and political potential (power and engagement). Our vision includes working toward a more just and equitable society that values every human being, regardless of who they are, to achieve equity on each of these fronts. Only when we are all free to exercise our right to education, will we have realized the American dream of our country’s founders.
YCD empowers youth to become leaders and speak out or take action in their local schools and communities and increase appreciation of human diversity. Read more about our organization’s goals and purposes below.
1. Create state and regional conferences for high school and college-aged youth that celebrate human diversity and provide students with an opportunity to share ideas relating to human diversity in a cooperative atmosphere.
Our organization works to bring high school and college students together from public and private, large and small, urban and rural schools to share ideas in a cooperative atmosphere. We believe that through dialogue and collaborative learning experiences, students can address the social issues affecting their schools and communities in a positive manner, and by engaging in dialogue with others, become empowered to take action and improve their local environment for all people.
2. Provide information, workshops and resources on any issue relating to human diversity that might impact a student’s ability to achieve academically or socially, both in and out of the school setting.
Youth Celebrate Diversity takes an inclusive approach to diversity, which we believe encompasses the full range of identities, characteristics, traits, and behaviors that make all people unique.
Our programs and services highlight a wide range of topics that young people encounter and deal with, including race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, political belief, socioeconomic background, religion, age, physical and mental ability or disability, level of education, and family composition.
Youth Celebrate Diversity is a non-partisan organization.
3. Establish a supportive network of youth, teachers, educational administrators and community partners committed to celebrating human diversity in an educational setting.
We believe that people from all walks of life are needed to build strong communities, and we look for partnerships with not only youth but also teachers, educational administrators, non-profit organizations, colleges and universities, private companies, foundations, and others.
Our goal is to build a strong and supportive network of individuals who will provide youth with positive and inclusive messages so they can move beyond the social challenges they face to succeed in an educational environment.
4. Empower youth to become leaders and speak out or take action in their local schools and communities and increase appreciation of human diversity.
The focal point of all programs and services offered by Youth Celebrate Diversity is empowerment. We strive to ensure participants of our events and programs walk away from their experiences enthused, informed, and eager to make an impact in their local school or community.
We recognize that each community struggles with different issues and challenges, and look to support young people in a variety of ways that best match the change they are seeking to make in their local community. Most recently, Youth Celebrate Diversity announced microgrant funding available to attendees of our programs, to help participants implement their diversity commitments and making positive change in their school or community.
5. Provide teachers and educational administrators with resources and tools to incorporate diversity-related topics, issues and lessons into school curriculum.
We believe diversity awareness and conversations should not only take place in afterschool programs or at special weekend events, but also be interwoven into the daily lives of all young people.
To this purpose, Youth Celebrate Diversity looks for curriculum, lesson plans, and other opportunities for diversity-related issues to be highlighted and discussed in school. Visit our Get Involved section for a library of curriculum high school teachers can use to bring diversity issues into the classroom.