Youth Innovation Council

The Youth Innovation Council serves in an advisory capacity to the board of directors and provides young people with the skills to address complex social issues at a high level.

The Youth Innovation Council (YIC) includes young people in executive decision-making and high-level problem solving. The YIC serves in an advisory capacity to the board of directors, ensuring that the organization’s work is aligned with the visions and needs of the people it serves. In addition, the YIC provides young people with real-world leadership training. Youth use the Amala Foundation’s work as a case study to understand broader societal issues. They engage in critical discussions about these issues and design and present proposals to address them.

Co-Founders: 

Savannah Kumar 

I’m Savannah. I am 22 and am a co-founder and co-chair of the Amala Foundation’s Youth Innovation Council (YIC). I have been involved with the Amala Foundation for over 7 years. I attended multiple Global Youth Innovation CouncilYouth Peace Summits as a youth delegate, served as a monitoring and evaluation consultant, and participated in projects at San Quentin State Prison. I have served on the board of directors since 2013. I was inspired to create the YIC because I believe organizations must listen closely to the voices of those they serve in order to truly understand and meet dynamic community needs. I enjoy discussing the complex challenges our world is facing and collaborating to design innovative responses to these challenges. The YIC gives me the opportunity to work with other young people to actualize their dreams. I have a dual role in the YIC: transmitting the YIC members’ thoughts and ideas to Amala’s executive leadership, and guiding the members through the process of addressing challenges in their community. I am always eager to help other non-profits implement models of participatory problem solving and decision-making. Together, I hope we can achieve dreams of a more compassionate world.

Elijah Parker 

I’m Elijah. I am 22 and I am a transplant from California. I moved to Austin to be more involved with the Amala Foundation after a life changing trek to New Delhi, India for a service retreat in a school that Youth Innovation CouncilAmala supported. It felt like the only move that made sense in terms of my inspiration. I have been involved with Amala for about 6 years now, starting as a youth at the Global Youth Peace Summit, and eventually meandering through everything Amala has to offer. I now serve on the board of directors as well and am a co-founder and co-chair of this Council. I am so excited about the YIC because of the opportunity it creates for the ingenuity of a young mind. It surrounds that ingenuity with the wisdom of a capable community while cultivating a focus on the organism that is Amala and creating a pause for perspective, coming from our (the youth’s) experiential knowledge of the programming, from which to innovate from.

 

The Youth Innovation Council always welcomes thoughts, ideas, concerns, inspirations, and other feedback from the community. The Council meets bi-weekly and reviews feedback at these meetings. To contact us, fill out the form below or email the YIC at yic@amalafoundation.org. 

 

Youth Innovation Council

2016-2017 YIC Members (left to right): Pema B., Martha I., Campbell E., April E., Elijah S. (not pictured: Miranda G.)

2016-2017 Youth Innovation Council Members: 

April E. 

April here. Born and raised all 19 years in Austin, Texas, I didn’t find out about Amala until 2015. The experience quickly transformed from something I dreaded into one of the most Youth Innovation Councilimportant parts of my life. Now I’m incredibly honored to have my voice heard in the Youth Innovation Council, and to be able to give back to the community that has changed my life. In my short time at Amala I’ve signed up for every opportunity to serve and be served by the programs, including the San Quentin Peace Walk and participating as a Youth Delegate in the first Kenyan Global Youth Peace Summit. Amala has changed the way I walk in this world, given me a voice and completely altered the way my family communicates with each other. I’m inspired to give back in this time of change and transformation, and to help create a healthy community where youth can rise up and impact the world in a positive way.

Campbell E. 

My name is Campbell Erickson. I am a 17 year old from Austin, Texas. Hailing from New Mexico, I learned about Amala Foundation in 2014. It’s hard to speak to the impact that the Youth Innovation CouncilAmala Foundation has had on my life — immense, unquantifiable, powerful. Through the Amala Foundation, I’ve found the power to take my voice and beliefs into the world. I’ve found the power to be authentic with an open heart and intellectually curious mind. Through the Amala Youth Innovation Council, I hope to help the Amala Foundation in its process of growth and development into a larger more sustainable organization. I believe that it’s through a united effort, youth and adult, the Amala Foundation can continue to make the impact it has proved possible over the last decade.

Elijah S. 

My name is Elijah I am 16 years old. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, I have been a part of Amala since early 2013 where I started in Rise Up and was fortunate enough to be accepted Youth Innovation Councilinto the summits. This community opened itself up to me so fully and offered itself in such an inspiring way that it completely shifted the way I was interacting with my life. Now, being a part of the Youth Innovation Council, or the YIC, I feel so honored that my voice, both as a youth and a peer, is being heard and this opportunity, for all of us on the council, will allow us to make tangible change in the world on a broader scale. Amala has always been a place for insight and growth for almost everyone who experiences it and I am very excited to have my voice being put into the organization in a way that will be potent and heard. This is going to be a way for me to help launch some of my dreams through the support we have in the Amala community as well as helping the organization grow. Together we are bringing the youth up to a level of responsibility that will help make change in our lives as well as everyone’s we will touch.

Martha I. 

My name is Martha and I’m 17 and from Nigeria (born and raised). I became involved Youth Innovation Councilwith the Amala Foundation this summer although it feels a lot longer than that. I started out as an intern and then I volunteered at Camp Indigo and was privileged to experience the Austin Global Youth Peace Summit as a youth. I am presently privileged to be a part of Rise Up and the YIC as well. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve the village and people I have come to call family and make sure they get the most out of every Amala program. To be able to lend my perspective, and ideas to this cause gives me a lot of joy and hope that change is possible.

Miranda G. 

My name is Miranda and I am 16 years old. I was born in Texas and have grown up in Austin my whole life, and have been a part of Amala since I was in diapers. I attended Camp Youth Innovation CouncilIndigo as a child, and have since had the privilege of attending the Global Youth Peace Summit and being a part of Rise Up, as well as serving on the Youth Innovation Council (YIC). Amala has always been a place of insight and connection in a fast-paced world, and I value the diverse and meaningful relationships I’ve made. To me, being a part of the YIC means exercising my voice to the Amala community, as someone who has grown up with the organization. It also means bridging the gap between generations, something so important to the key concept of Amala. I also hope to use the YIC as a resource to help my ideas develop and come to life. I am so excited to see where this new incredible journey goes, and what kind of impact it will have on our community.

Pema B. 

My name is Pema and I am 17 years old. I was born in China and was adopted by two amazing parents from the USA. I have been involved with the Amala Foundation for the past two years. Youth Innovation Council I have participated in both Rise up and the Global Youth Peace Summit. I am currently active in Rise Up and the Youth Innovation Council. I feel blessed and honored to serve on such a unique council that brings together all different kinds of youths. Together we can cultivate a safe environment in which ideas and creativity can flow. I am inspired to use the YIC to help create a path for Amala’s future. This organization means so much to me and I feel blessed to be working with close friends that share the same passion and who love to push Amala to new heights. I can’t wait to see what we will accomplish!


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