What We Do

We give youth tools to shape their own future and the future of their communities. Every year we reach 3,000 working class immigrant youth and youth of color with innovative peer-led college access support, creative arts and media programs,  youth-focused political education and more. In this way, we address the overlapping crises of under-resourced schools, biased school discipline, and lack of access to college and career opportunities that disproportionately harm our communities.

Our youth-led organizing campaigns have helped reform biased policing, made schools more inclusive and supportive, and elevated the struggle of immigrant students to get to college.  Our youth members are leaders of some of the city and state’s most vibrant and effective campaigns on immigrant rights, criminal justice and more.

See How We're Supporting Youth Leaders
How We're Helping

MRNY deeply values youth voices. We invest heavily in mentorship and support for young people and ensure that youth help guide every aspect of our organization. Youth serve on our board of directors alongside adult members and lead our most important work. Many of our staff started as youth members, including our two Co-Directors of Organizing.  

Our youth are working to dismantle the school-to-prison and the school-to-deportation pipelines. Our youth members organized successfully for the expanded Student Safety Act, a very strong law that requires the city to release detailed data showing harsh inequities in school discipline. Our work also helped bring about a ban on suspensions for the youngest students, in kindergarten through 2nd grade, and prompted the mayor to ensure that federal immigration enforcement can’t enter public schools.

We have been at the forefront of the national movement for community schools, which elevates student leadership and brings together an array of services — from health clinics to legal services — for students and their families.  We designed and are helping to refine and implement the Bushwick Campus Community School which prioritizes the voices of students and parents, and provides wraparound services to over 1,300 students and their families. The city’s last schools chancellor visited our school to talk to our youth leaders about the success of the college access program.  

85%
of seniors
at MRNY’s Bushwick Campus are accepted to college
Fast Facts
  • The city is replicating our college access program in 34 schools across the city, reaching 17,000 students.
  • More than a decade of organizing has resulted in reductions of suspensions by 32%, arrests and summonses in school by 27%, and suspensions for insubordination by 81% in New York City schools.
  • Our work secured $2.4 million for a restorative justice initiative including 25 schools, built from our design.
  • Every summer, YPP brings together 100 youth across our offices for a six week intensive summer action program that teaches civic engagement skills and involves young people in organizing campaigns.
Meet Zuleima

Zuleima arrived from Mexico when she was 10 because her parents sought better opportunities for Zuleima and her brother. Our attorneys helped Zuleima apply for DACA, which enabled her to get a job, travel abroad, and attend college. She later became the first in her family to graduate! Through MRNY’s Youth Power Project, she helped organize for immigrant rights, which gave her the confidence to speak out about her own experience.

Most recently, Zuleima has put herself on the front lines, leading a 3,000-person march to defend DACA, and writing an open letter to President Trump in the New York Daily News.

Support the critical work of MRNY’s youth leaders

Related Links

Resource Guide
Scholarships for Undocumented Students
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Issue
Education
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Program
Leadership Development
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