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Youth Action Squads

Youth Action Squads


In 2020, the Iowa Department of Human Rights, in partnership with the Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development, received a grant from the Forum for Youth Investment develop a new youth program.  As a result, in the Fall of 2020 two Youth Action Squads (YAS) were seated and comprised youth aged 14-24 from throughout Iowa.  These youth come from diverse backgrounds with lived experience and an interest in advocacy.  Each Youth Action Squad was designed to empower youth by providing opportunities to expand learning and leadership skills.  Each YAS focused on a topic:  "Racial Justice" and "COVID-19".  YAS participants learn leadership skills, conduct research to gain an in-depth understanding of issues, and create an actionable plan to address the issues in their communities or statewide.

Youth Action Squad 2021-2022 

The Youth Action Squad is designed based on the principles that:

  • Young people are the experts on the experiences and needs of young people.

  • Adolescents are capable of high-level action.

  • Lived experience is a critical asset for adolescents seeking to make change at any

  • system level.

  • Decision-makers should resource and advance recommendations of young

  • people, and systems would benefit from doing so.

  • Those closest to the issues are often closest to the solutions, but furthest from

  • resources and power

In the fall of 2021, 30 Iowa youth (ages 14-24) were selected to participate in the
Youth Action squad based on their lived experience, interest in advocacy, and
motivation to take action.

Youth Action Squad members met for 10 large group meetings, as well as individual
check-ins with support staff, from December 2021 to April 2022.

Click here to view the 2021-2022 report.

Youth Action Squads 2020-2021 

In 2021, the two Youth Action Squads (Racial Justice and COVID-19) released reports based on their respective topics.  These reports highlighted concerns and recommendations from Iowa youth.   The following report reflects a combination of recommendations from each Youth Action Squad:

YAS Poster2

Racial Justice Action Squad

Racial Justice clipart

Click here to see our Racial Justice Youth Action Squad members and their bios!

COVID-19 Youth Action Squad


Click here to see our COVID-19 Youth Action Squad members and their Bios!