Youth Impact: Snapshots of Youth Councils Influencing Policy

When youth have opportunities to authentically engage in the policymaking process, the result is not only more engaged young people but, almost always, better policies. A growing body of research is emerging to support this idea, and to help us understand what makes a youth council or commission truly effective. For more on the research, click here.

To support the work of the youth-led Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council, SparkAction is collecting and sharing snapshots of the real-world impact that youth groups are having on policies and governance across the United States. We hope these short profiles help showcase the many rich ways in which youth can be powerful problem-solvers around the issues and policies that affect their lives and their communities.

If you'd like to share an impact story, please email us at For more on the youth-led Campaign for  Presidential Youth Council visit the official Campaign blog.



YALC group

High school students concerned with the standardized testing requirements for graduation in Ohio catalyze reform.

youth bill of rights

In Portland, Oregon, youth engagement is guided by the first-in-the-nation Bill of Rights written by and for youth, and a measurable Action Plan.

youth violence

Three years after Oregon youth first brought together government, schools and nonprofits to tackle rising local violence, rates have stabilized and collaboration is increasingly the norm.

youth bus pass

Oregon youth helped establish a system of free bus passes for students in public schools.

youth marching

If you build it, and they don’t come, what do you do? In Oregon, when school-based health clinics faced this dilemma, county officials turned to youth for the solution.

youth impact billboard

When young people have genuine opportunities and support to influence local and state policies, what happens? Our Youth Impact Snapshots series takes a look.

2013 SIYAC

Youth of Iowa partner with public health departments and organizations to make change to bullying in their state.


Boston youth partner with city officials to launch an Instagram-inspired online platform to help Boston youth find, share and rate the healthiest foods in the city.

Governor's Statewide Youth Council & Gov. Patrick

Young leaders in Massachusetts mobilize the entire Commonwealth in anti-bullying activities and storytelling for change.

youth council

In Colorado, youth-written legislation reformed teacher licensing laws to include suicide prevention training.

LYAC members

Starting this year, Louisiana high school students can earn a "distinction for community service" seal on their diplomas thanks to the Legislative Youth Advisory Council, which helped draft and pass a bill recognizing student service.

youth advisoary board orange county

Upstate youth succeed in reversing budget cuts and restoring funds for youth development programs. They even got legislators to provide new grants!

MN victory

A group of youth leaders and adult allies successfully pass legislation in the state of Minnesota to recognize the Minnesota Youth Council.


A coalition of youth gets all six New England states to adopt the Sibling Bill of Rights.


Students make Washington the second state the U.S. to include community service as a high school graduation requirement.