In Summer 2015, Giancarlo Castenda, a student at Margarita Muniz Academy, was chosen to be a Community Change Fellow, GC’s summer internship program designed to sustain students’ civic engagement after graduating from the GC program. Giancarlo was paired with the Boston Education Justice Alliance (BEJA) and discovered a passion for youth organizing. As an organizer with BEJA, Giancarlo gained experience in concrete organizing tactics, like canvassing and screen printing.
Giancarlo also coordinated a workshop to educate students about injustices in the school system, like inequitable funding. He became engaged, recognizing how relevant this work was to his own life and experiences in school. In addition to his experiences with BEJA, Giancarlo and the other Community Change Fellows in his cohort received professional development from Generation Citizen on topics like leadership and effective research.
“Being a Youth Organizer for BEJA opened my view on the community. Before, I didn’t know how to put my voice out there, but after a month, I knew how I could make change on things that I believe in. I was interested in my work because it related to me directly. Informing kids just like me about injustice will inspire more kids to be a change agent, looking into local organizations and getting involved at an early age. As a Community Change Fellow, I’ve learned how to use my voice effectively.”