Youth Affinity Network (YAN)

The Youth Affinity Network (YAN) evolved from Praxis’ Transformative Schools Network (TSN).  TSN was originally formed by youth-centered organizations within the Praxis Network to address issues important to youth and change the way the U.S. thinks about what creates healthy school environments. TSN member organizations worked to create healthy and safe environments for youth to grow and thrive by organizing to remove police from schools, organizing for healthier food and beverage options in schools, organizing to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, and various other issues.  

Today, Praxis’ Youth Affinity Network seeks to encourage collaboration and united action among youth-centered organizations.  Despite youth being directly affected by policies concerning health care, immigration, education reform, and criminal justice, youth voices are not always included in national conversations.  The Youth Affinity Network is working to change that and build the youth movement to elevate youth voices in the national discussion.

Youth Affinity Network Meeting in Boston

Members of the network worked together to define community safety from a youth perspective.  We looked at “safety” not from the typical viewpoint of the absence of *insert particular crimes here* but the presence of positive features within a community.  Here is what the youth and the youth organizers came up with:

We define a safe community as one that…

  • Views/values mental health the same as physical health
  • Is inclusive of all cultures and identities
  • Has peacekeepers that serve and build health relationships with the community
  • Has local grocery stores with affordable and organic produce
  • Has community-oriented schools with culturally relevant curriculums that are equitably funded
  • Has equitably funded vibrant community centers
  • Has affordable and accessible transportation, healthcare, and housing
  • Intentionally pushes for community engagement that leads towards community empowerment
  • Approaches crime/justice with restorative practices

Youth in the Movement have an understanding that the way to build a healthy, stable community is to first create a community where ALL community members are valued. #ListenToTheYouth

Click the logos below to view each organization’s website within the Youth Affinity Network!