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High School Students Present Their “Y-Plan” for Change

Students gain college and job skills while tackling real-world problems

March 2018 - On Friday, February 23, 2018, community partners including Sacramento Promise Zone, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, The California Endowment, Office of Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Health Education Council, and Center for Cities + Schools were invited to Health Professions High School to hear Y-Plan projects focused on homelessness presented by sophomores. Y-Plan (Youth – Plan, Learn, Act, Now) is an educational strategy that empowers young people to tackle real-world problems in their communities through project-based civic learning experiences. The 52 students who participated in the Y-Plan project spent a month researching and brainstorming ideas that could help support homelessness in their communities. Students explained the process of their research by taking a walk in their neighborhood to observe and analyze the surroundings. They took their observation and researched it more thoroughly. Then they created an action plan for change. Next they go public by presenting their idea to the community. Lastly, community partners respond to students projects. Y-Plan has allowed students to critically identify places and or things in their community that could be changed or added to support homelessness. Students also gained self-growth through the Y-Plan project because they learned the difficulty of research and the importance of patience working in a group. All Y-Plan projects were incredible because it showed youth community engagement and youth voice. A student expressed that before they participated in the Y-Plan project homelessness didn’t seem like a big problem but after discovering that they could develop ideas to support it they started to care more about the problem. Y-Plan supports the Sacramento Promise Zone goals because it’s engages student learning by connecting real-world problems to their education. This will increase students reading and writing skill because they’re enjoying their learning. Lastly, it provides a space for community partners to hear youth voice and take what they’ve learned back to their organizations to create change. To learn more about Y-Plan and how you bring it to your school, please visit


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