Nothing about us, without us
Changemakers is a growing network of young leaders with a simple mission: to ensure that no decision about youth is made without youth.
Changemakers began in 2018 when Walter Cortina and Lincoln Bacal, two of our founding members, started a student-led school improvement seminar at Venture Academy in Minneapolis. They discussed areas for improvement in their school and designed solutions alongside 25 other students. Their work culminated in a new student-centered mentorship program for the school which is still in use today. Afterwards, They started Twin Cities Changemakers, a multi-school coalition of students meeting weekly to discuss and enact city-wide change in the education system. They hosted listening sessions that engaged 200+ high school students and led to a successful campaign to end a proposed charter school moratorium in Minnesota.
Today, Changemakers is a growing network of young leaders operating in chapters across Minnesota–both in communities and in schools–with a simple mission: to ensure that no decision about students is made without students in their schools.
Changemakers works as a platform for discovering young people and community needs and collaborating with stakeholders to implement policies and practices that enable youth to thrive holistically as civically engaged adults. We call these youth leadership teams “Changemakers Chapters” and they work both locally and across systems. We aim to ensure young people can co-design their learning with adults to ensure all youth live in purpose, prosperity, and power in relationship-rich communities.