Raising engaged citizens doesn't happen by chance. Just like we teach young people to brush their teeth, eat healthy foods, exercise and get enough sleep, we also need to help them develop the knowledge, skills and motivation to participate in their communities and in democracy. The YMCA Center for Youth Voice does this in three ways:

  • We invite young people to take part in authentic democratic activities that allow them to learn civics by doing civics.
  • We offer tools, trainings and experiences that allow them to explore and discuss important, sometimes divisive topics, with a goal of increasing tolerance and empathy.
  • We clear a path for young people to develop and use their voice to act on issues that matter to them.

Research has shown that youth civic engagement often leads to increased academic performance and improved social-emotional well-being. It helps young people build skills and networks that are valued in the workplace and can become a source of economic mobility. When young people feel equipped and empowered to act – and when they see their efforts achieve positive change – it can have a profound and lasting impact.


Meet the Center for Youth Voice team.

Get Involved

Check out all the ways you can make a difference.

Program Participants

Meet the young people who bring Center for Youth Voice programs to life.

Advisory Board

Key volunteers who provide advice and support for our programs and mission.

Program Alumni

If you participated in any Center for Youth Program, you are part of our alumni family.


Helping young people develop civic knowledge, skills and motivation for more than 75 years.


Help us continue to bring our vision to life with a donation to the Center for Youth Voice.