Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Health, Human Services and Public Policy


Collaborative Health and Human Services


The Youth Action Network (YAN), a youth program at United Way of Santa Cruz, focuses on youth ages 11-18 across Santa Cruz County to increase youth connection to resources, promoting youth engagement, youth voice, leadership, and well-being. Youth voice is crucial, and due to a lack of engagement, it has impacted the surrounding communities in Santa Cruz County regarding critical decision-making involving their input. This project aimed to promote authentic engagement and motivation for the youth to utilize their voices within their communities while also fostering and strengthening the relationships between the youth and adult allies and mentors. Bi-weekly meetings for two months were implemented and facilitated for this project. More than half of the youth were expected to attend, and less than half attended. This goal will be an ongoing project for YAN, as there will be a new youth coordinator for the program implementing more frequent meetings online and in person to stimulate the youth to become more authentically motivated and engaged in utilizing their voices in their communities.