The selection process was difficult – from 40 applicants where five were chosen – for the 2011 “Civic Leaders of Tomorrow” Fellows, announced at a brief ceremony at the Manhattan Borough President’s office, Nov. 9.
This is the fourth year of this public policy and advocacy program for undergraduate or graduate students that is designed to promote future leaders as well as advance the goals of the DREAM Act. This year’s fellows were freshman to seniors.
BP Scott Stringer implemented this program, partnering with the New York State Youth Leadership Council – the only undocumented youth-led organization in New York working to promote the advancement of immigrant youth through leadership development.
Fellows are placed with an immigrant rights not-for profit or community-based organization for a minimum of eight hours per week for a full semester and receive a $1,000 stipend for the duration. Through this placement, fellows are trained on how to be effective advocates. Students participate in educational and leadership development programs and other activities including seminars that help them synthesize their experience in the field with policy and advocacy theory and strategy.
BP Stringer noted that New York is the international capital of non-profits and advocacy where 170 languages are spoken in a city representing 200 countries. He emphasized that this experience is part of their learning process, a building block of their lives. “One of these great students will run for office, someday,” he said.
The program also enhances the capacity of not-for-profit organizations to advocate for underserved communities and strengthen relationships between not-for-profit organizations and local government and provide fellows with an appreciation of local government.
By this November announcement, recipients were already learning and doing advocacy in their field placements at their host immigrant rights not-for-profit organizations. These are: Internationals Network for Public Schools, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, Project Hospitality, Sakhi for South Asian Women, and the Urban justice Center Street Vendors Project.