New nonprofit wants to inspire youth to 'stand up for something'

Dissent: to differ in sentiment or opinion, especially from the majority.

Dissent is not always easy — especially for youth, who might not have the confidence, experience or communication skills to express their opinions and take a leadership role with their peers and in their communities.  And that is the simple inspiration behind the new nonprofit, Dissent.

"The youth voice needs to be heard" says Branden Pecor, founder of Dissent.  "Students need to learn how to contribute to the conversation. How to use their voice in front of adults and stand up for something."

Pecor says she was inspired to start the organization after her years of being involved in education management and program assessment. She observed there were several after school programs focused on youth development, but very few were teaching leadership skills.  "There weren't very many opportunities for hands on leadership training in ways that are interesting and engaging."

Dissent will initially focus on two programs. 

The first is a student-run board ("our teens run the show") that will work on creating fun events that bring attention to social justice issues.  Pecor says one example is the upcoming caroling event to end youth homelessness on December 17, when the group is trying break a world record for most carolers.

Another program Dissent is developing is a series of youth led and designed workshops.  In development is a manufacturing workshop, "fashion design for revolution,”  that will bring attention to the manufacturing processes within the design industry. The workshop will educate on better processes and then eventually provide students the opportunity to make and sell products using ethical and sustainable processes.

Dissent became an official 501c3 in December 2014, and Pecor says she has been steadily working on scaling the organization. She recently participated in the Spring GR program, graduating last month. She says the experience was extremely important and helped her get in front of more people and develop an ongoing coaching and mentor network. 

To learn more about Dissent, including how to get involved, you can visit their website here and like their Facebook page here.

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor
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