“Young people of color whose families are low income and poor are the ones left out of the conversation. Our job is to give them the tools to elevate their voices and develop the skills to activate as leaders. We want to show them something can come of that.” – Kaya Weidman, Executive Director, Kite’s Nest
Kite's Nest is a center for liberatory education in Hudson, NY, whose mission is to create safe and supportive learning environments that nurture the confidence, skills, joy, and collective leadership of young people while building justice and equity in their communities. The organization provides programs for children and teens during the day, after-school, during school breaks, and throughout the summer.
The Social Justice Leadership Academy, a five-week summer program for teenagers that meets weekdays from 10am to 3pm, supports youth in developing their voices and visions for change, and in addressing the root causes of racial and social inequity. The program is operated in partnership with the SBK Social Justice Center.
Weidman points out that Hudson, particularly the Second Ward, where many of these students come from, is changing rapidly. “Young people growing up here often describe it as a trap, a place with no opportunities. We are working to give them the tools and support they need to become the teachers, politicians, and community leaders of the future. Some students have even joined the Social Justice Leadership Academy adult staff after graduating. We see many opportunities for our young people to become leaders in their communities, and we are helping build a pathway for them to get there. They are becoming experts in their own solutions.”
The Dyson Foundation provided a project support grant toward the Social Justice Leadership Academy in 2016. This grant falls within the Enhancing Education and the Health & Safety Net funding themes.