Youth will play an important role in supporting DEI in Naperville for generations to come. Youth who are involved in building community today could be among those who return to the community in the future to work and thrive. In addition, welcoming youth and their perspectives on inclusion will help us drive toward the city’s mission: “…while creating an inclusive community that values diversity.”
The Youth INclusion Ambassadors of Naperville
The Youth INclusion Ambassadors of Naperville (YINA), have two main objectives: to be champions of inclusion and to work together to model community. The first class of Youth Ambassadors is intentionally small to lay a strong foundation for moving forward. Participants range from grades 9 through college. They value diversity and being part of a diverse group, are enthusiastic about inclusion and belonging, are creative, proactive, strong communicators, and approachable team players who desire to grow as leaders that impact the broader community. As the initiative grows, it is anticipated the age range of participants will expand.
To support the mission, the Youth Ambassadors have the following goals:
- spread the message of inclusion in their everyday lives;
- participate in youth focused diversity and inclusion activities and initiatives;
- positively influence those around them by living the inclusion value daily;
- strengthen one another through the sharing of stories; and
- share a newsletter once per quarter.
YINA participants bring a youthful perspective to the work along with innovative ideas that will help reach their age population as well as inspire community members around the importance of Naperville’s mission as pertains to diversity, equity and inclusion into the future. They are learning about DEI in Naperville while offering valuable insight into the unique issues young people face from an equity and inclusion perspective.
YINA members plan to partner with other organizations and host events that highlight some of the many facets of DEI. YINA participants will also be challenged to live the inclusion value in their daily lives – setting an example for others. Participants will serve one school year and will likely change in composition to meet future needs. Those who remain in the community and want to stay active will be invited to do so as part of scaling the group.