Focusing on Policy Advocacy and Civic Education
Building Community Engagement Through Policy Advocacy
Young American Policy Advocates (YAPA) is a student driven organization that empowers young Americans to help improve policies that affect them and help people around them through in-depth research and advocacy.
Although many high school students understand how the federal government operates on a basic level, students often don’t know how the local and state level governments work; however, we believe that focusing on the local level of government is the most important because they affect the daily lives of all people.
We seek to connect young Americans with local policymakers to help them learn first-hand what it takes to make better policies. We also seek to connect young Americans with local nonprofits and community leaders to help them learn first-hand how to advocate for better policies. We are non-partisan. We wish to educate young Americans to embrace diverse cultures and diverse points of views.
What Students Say
"YAPA’s program, as a part of the COVID economics and educational impacts cohort, opened my eyes to real problems happening in my own community. Through the support and resources that YAPA’s mentors and students provided me, I was also able to develop skills like effective researching, communication, and public speaking — all while developing a deeper passion for local advocacy."
Ishaani Dayal (Police Reform Group), Monta Vista High
"I learned the importance of valuing the opinion of the opposition and doing your best to understand their goal. I also learned that pressuring politicians directly via email or attending their events is one of the most effective forms of advocacy. My viewpoint didn't change overall, but I ended up understanding the beliefs of the opposition by the end of the camp."
"Participating in YAPA opened my eyes to the wide world of advocacy, and revealed to me just how much people can accomplish when they work together, even in a small group. It didn’t just teach me valuable lessons; it provided invaluable experiences for me to learn those lessons firsthand."
Dylan Yang (Mental Health Group), Monta Vista High, Junior 2020
Sunjay Murali (Prop 16 Group), Washington High, Junior 2020
Tiana Zhou, Mission San Jose High, Sophomore (2019)
"I learned about government and politics from various mentors and government officials. I developed new skills for public speaking and got more involved in my community while advocating for change. I also met many new people who were fun to work with as we learned about issues affecting our community."
Alyssa Yao, Cupertino High, Sophomore (2019)
"...We discussed problem-solving methods and applied them to real-life scenarios such as passing ordinances. I have learned so much about issues in Cupertino and brainstormed potential solutions to them as well as taken initiative with my group and contacted city council members to bring forward our thoughts and concerns to hopefully resolve them."
Vaibhav Rangan, Lynbrook High, Freshman (2019)
"Participating in the YAPA minicamp was an incredible opportunity to advance my interests as the program provided me the skills I need to advocate for the issues I am passionate about in addition to giving me access to a vast network of distinguished advocates and public servants."