Mission of the Organization
Three Rivers Community Foundation (TRCF) promotes Change, not charity™, by funding and encouraging activism among community-based organizations in underserved areas of Southwestern Pennsylvania. We support groups challenging attitudes, policies, or institutions as they work to promote social, economic, or racial justice.
The Foundation’s action areas include: Disability Rights; Economic Justice; the Environment; Racial Justice; Women, Youth, and Families; and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues. In addition to making grants in these action areas, TRCF funds a Media Justice Initiative, as well as making small Special Opportunity Grants of up to $500 throughout the year for unanticipated opportunities that may arise, for which organizations did not budget.
Over the past 20 years, TRCF has distributed over $900,000 to more than 250 progressive groups in the region. With a focus of making grants to smaller organizations doing innovative work to address divisions in society, TRCF actively seeks out those working on the ground floor of change.
Purpose of the Youth Empowerment Internship
The economic, social, and environmental consequences of the actions of the older generations are too often borne by the young, and that the future of social justice and change in the United States rests in the hands of young people. Recognizing this, the Three Rivers Community Foundation has developed a slate of programs and activities designed to inform, energize, train, and empower young people in the middle and high school grades, and in college, in methods of advancing the cause of social justice.
The Youth Empowerment Internship supports the Foundation’s youth initiatives for social change and justice. These initiatives re intended to educate young people in the issues of social injustice and the need for change, and to involve as many of them as possible in the processes of grantmaking, organizing for change, and fundraising for social change.
A brief description of the program components is printed below.
Teens for Change (Fall recruitment, Spring Program)
Teens for Change (T4C) is an exciting year-long program for young people (ages 13 to 19) in southwestern Pennsylvania (beginning in Allegheny County as a pilot project during the first year). Through the experience of creating and running a grant-making program, T4C Board members learn a variety of skills including meeting planning and facilitation, outreach, public speaking, program planning, proposal evaluation, and group decision-making. The T4C program is being established to increase youth participation in philanthropy (grant-making and fundraising), support youth involvement in community change, and promote youth service and giving.
The T4C Board members learn about philanthropy as a tool to address issues and challenges directly affecting youth in Allegheny County. T4C Board members reach out to youth in the community and encourage them to plan projects and apply for funds to carry them out. Board members review proposed project ideas and make decisions as a group about which projects to support. The 2011-2012 T4C Board will distribute $5,000 in grants to the projects that they determine to have the greatest positive impact on youth in Allegheny County.
Young Ambassador Program (YAP) (Summer Program)
The first step in inspiring change is raising broad-based awareness about inequities and persistent issues of social injustice. The Youth Ambassador Program will create our region’s next generation of change makers through a three-tiered approach. The YAP program staff and intern(s) will recruit eight-twelve Youth Ambassadors (grades 10th-12th) to be mentored by TRCF board members and community activists. The Ambassadors will be provided with leadership training and community outreach experience. They will use their training to lead workshops for 4th-6th grade students based on TRCF’s seven key issue areas – Women, Youth, and Families; Disability Rights; Economic Justice; Environmental Justice; Peace and Human Rights: Racial Justice; and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues. This workshop curriculum will then be implemented to schools in the Pittsburgh area and in future years be expanded to the southwestern region in an initiative to raise awareness and engage youth to accept diversity.
YAP will be launched in the summer of 2011 running from July to August. There will be four trainings in July once a week running for 4 hours and 3 workshops in August running for 3 hours with preparation and debriefing. A closing ceremony will be held in the last week of August.
Youth Leading Change (One day event in the Fall)
The TRCF Youth Leading Change Initiative involves Pittsburgh City Schools high school seniors and their teachers in social justice and change. In this program, senior students attend an organizing assembly in their schools to learn about TRCF’s seven issue areas in social change, listed below.
a. Racial Justice
b. The Environment
c. LGBTIQ Issues
d. Disability Rights
e. Economic Justice
f. Women, Youth, and Families
g. Peace and Human Rights
Those students who wish to participate in the initiative experience register at the assembly, select the issue area of greatest interest to them, and identify a teacher to supervise their graduation or class project.
Each year, in October, a full-day seminar is held at the Senator John Heinz Regional History Center at which:
1. In the morning, TRCF staff and committee members again briefly present
the Foundation’s seven issue areas.
2. Each student then joins with the representative(s) of his/her selected
grantee and community project and, with input from the organization’s leaders and the approval of his/her teacher:
a. Refines and revises action plans and objectives for conducting
b. Participates in learning activities and skill development workshops
that they choose, including: Youth and Students Making Change;
Organizing for Social Change – Community Organizing, Coalition
Building, and Civic Engagement; Building Sustainable
Organizations – Fundraising, Grant Writing, and Social
Entrepreneurship; Getting Your Message Out – Media, Marketing, and Social Networking; and Legislative Advocacy and Grassroots
Lobbying 101 – What your organization can do to effect policy
c. Participates in a break-out session related to his/her class project
and social change.
d. Takes part in a project planning/strategic objectives session
involving the supervising teacher.
e. Schedules subsequent site visits and work at the social change
program worksite to continue to observe and learn from the
practices and activities of those conducting the program and to
implement their class project.
3. At lunch, each student selects a study/reporting group in an action area
unrelated to his or hers (and, ideally from a different school), and this
group shares their reasons for selecting their projects, and discusses their
plans, hopes, and expectations for their projects.
4. In the early afternoon, Heinz History Center educational staff and faculty
from the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Sociology and School of Education conduct an afternoon “Lessons of Leadership” seminar, using History Center materials and programs and a Center-wide leadership education tour.
5. In mid-afternoon, a Team Building and Collaboration Exercise is
conducted in which students participate in a Historical Leadership
Scavenger Hunt – in teams – throughout the History Center, using provided
clues and hints to find examples of important historical leadership events in southwestern Pennsylvania. Events from the Three Rivers Community Foundation’s Progressive Pittsburgh 250 research monograph and the Heinz Regional History Center’s Pittsburgh 250 Exhibit will comprise the core elements of this exercise.
6. At the end of the day, the top three scavenger hunt teams report on their
methods and approach and teachers, students, trainers, and mentors
complete a separate evaluation form for the event, which will inform and
improve the event for the subsequent year.
7. Teachers, students, and all trainers complete a separate evaluation form
for the event, which will inform and improve the event for the subsequent
The Youth Empowerment Intern will work with TRCF’s Internship Fellow(s) and the Executive Director to develop, promote, implement, maintain, and evaluate the youth component of TRCF’s programming and activities.
a. Recruiting participants in the T4C and YAP programs.
b. Training the young participants.
c. Developing materials for both programs.
d. Liaising with the appropriate officials in the schools to ensure program success.
e. Scheduling the events and activities of the programs.
f. Maintaining service and activities data on both programs.
g. Scheduling and attending the meetings and events of both programs.
h. Working with the Public Relations and Marketing Intern and the Website Intern to publicize the programs and to develop and update the TRCF website’s Youth Making Change web page.
i. Evaluating the programs (ongoing, formative evaluation, and end-of-year evaluation)
j. Make recommendations for changes and improvements to the program.
The Youth Empowerment Intern must share the TRCF commitment to social justice and social change. The ideal candidate will have some experience, or educational training, in programming, and some experience working with youth. The Volunteer should be able to devote a sufficient number of hours weekly to the position.
Estimated Time Commitment
8-14 hours per week
The Executive Director and the Internship Fellow will provide guidance and resources to the Youth Empowerment Intern.
To apply for this internship please submit your cover letter and resume to the Intern Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.