Young Leaders Address Climate Change to Local Level

An amazing group of youth leaders worked on to mitigating global warming and catastrophic climate change during 2020, initiating 27 community impact projects in San Mateo County.

The first cohort of the San Mateo County Youth Climate Ambassadors (YCA) Program graduated in early December 2020 in a successful virtual capstone event. It was made up of 50 youth leaders from 16 schools. The group met regularly through the year for twice-monthly workshops and two retreats to collectively implement community impact projects that spanned San Mateo County.

At the start of the program, only 50 percent of students felt knowledgeable about climate change, and 12 percent felt empowered to make a difference. By the end of the program, there was a significant increase, with 97 percent feeling very knowledgeable about climate change, and 91 percent feeling empowered to make a difference.

You can view the students’ case studies and presentations on the Community Impact Project page of the Youth Climate Ambassadors website.

This was the first year of the San Mateo County Youth Climate Ambassadors program, which was coordinated in partnership by the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability, San Mateo County Office of Education, and Burlingame’s Citizens Environmental Council. Organizers look forward to kicking off the 2021 cohort in January and working with the next group of young people passionate about addressing climate change in their communities.

The current YCA program is an extension of the 2018 CEC High School Environmental Internship program with a grant from the Morris S. Smith Foundation, Sterling Franklin, Trustee and with support from the City of Burlingame and its sustainability coordinator, Sigalle Michael. We began with eight students, all Burlingame residents, who attended five different high schools. The purpose of the program was to help these students learn about environmental issues and to support them in leading sustainability initiatives at their respective campuses.

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