The California Endowment Grantee Peer Learning, Co-Learning and Communities of Practice

At The California Endowment, “We learned early in our 10-year Building Healthy Communities initiative that some of the most impressive results were due to the effective leadership and advocacy of youth,” says Gregory Hall, director of program quality and effectiveness. Youth started attending the foundation’s local Building Health Communities planning meetings to express their priorities for school and neighborhood changes. Now most of the Endowment’s 14 initiative sites have youth leadership tables. “We’ve provided trainings and workshops for these youth,” says Hall. “Topics have included public health and prevention, the functions of government, local policy making processes, and most recently the impacts of trauma on individuals and communities.” Then the foundation began bringing the youth together in statewide convenings. “We take them to Sacramento so they can see for themselves where decisions get made and so they can lift up their own voices and articulate what’s important to them.  Many of these youth have testified in front of government committees, and we firmly believe that this has led to better and more responsive public policies in the state,” says Hall.  “Perhaps most importantly, we’ve networked them together. I keep saying ‘we’ but actually they’ve networked themselves.”

About the author(s)

Anna Pond Consulting