Opportunity Youth Congressional Liaison Program

The OYCL program brings young Opportunity Youth leaders together with experts and policymakers to advocate for themselves and their peers.


The Forum’s Opportunity Youth Congressional Liaison Program (OYCL) is a three-month paid fellowship that equips U.S. youth ages 16 to 26 with the skills and tools they need to directly advocate to lawmakers. The program was designed with and for Opportunity Youth (16- to 26-year-olds who are not connected to school or the workforce) in order to level up their advocacy skills and connect them to others working for more equitable access to opportunity.

For more information, contact Gerod Blue, the Forum’s Senior Policy Manager, who directs the program.

To receive updates about this and future opportunities, sign up for the Forum’s biweekly newsletter.

Meet the OYCLs: Spring-Summer 2022

Together, we are working to hold our elected officials accountable for the decisions they make, and to ensure that our priorities are heard. After all, who is better positioned to advocate for what we need than we are? We are the experts on our own lives, our communities, and the solutions we and our nation need in order to build opportunities and equality for all.

Ahjanae Bulger
Newark, NJ

I hear people's stories and am inspired by their lived experiences; I hope to do the same.

Amber Morrison
Newark, NJ

"My ultimate dream is to be an actress but I love working with and talking with people."

Angel Jackson
Houston, TX

"Excited to grow and learn more about organizing our community to make lasting change."

Benji Chaplin
Richmond, TX

"I'm thrilled to [meet] with elected officials and find ways to hold them accountable."

ChristinaTorrez
Bakersfield, CA

"Making a change for current and former foster youth."

Deshawn Childress
Brooklyn, NY

"Using my background as a motivational tool for youth and young adults to not give up."

Idelia Robinson
Greensburg, PA

"I believe providing children, youth & young adults with supports & resources is crucial."

Mauline Gragau
Huntsville, TX

Be bold. "Advocacy is never easy, especially if your voice has always been a silent one."

My Nquyen
Orange County, California

"Excited to share a learning space with peers [and] make an impact within my community."

Samuel Turner
Tucson Arizona

Excited by the opportunity to connect with one another and the community we all live in.

Sky Drayton
Brooklyn, NY

"I can’t wait to learn what we as young people can do to change injustices in communities"

Sommer Rose
Port Orchard, WA

"I'm excited to educate through my lived experience and ... break down systemic barriers."

Starr Angel
Sacramento, CA

"It's about identifying problems, creating changes, and highlighting moments of joy."

Tashia Gaspard
New Orleans, LA

"I am excited to be apart of change. I visualize that this will be the year of change."

Yasmin Abduraham
Apple Valley, MN

I'm excited to learn more about others ... and the best ways to advocate.

Our Pilot OYCL Cohort (2021-22)

Our first OYCL cohort kicked off in November 2021. Seven talented young leaders came together to learn, connect, and advance equity and opportunity. Now alum, they each continue to support one another and the subsequent cohorts of OYCLs, and are advising the Forum team on how to improve the design of our OYCL program.

Benjamin Grube
California

Ben Grube, OYCL inaugural cohort

Dash Togi
Alaska

Dash Togi, OYCL inaugural cohort

Gysell Perez
California

Gysell Perez, OYCL inaugural cohort

Jordi Romero
Colorado

Jordi Romero, OYCL inaugural cohort

Kiyah Braunskill
New Jersey

Kiyah Braunskill, OYCL inaugural cohort

Marquise Wright
New Jersey

Marquise Wright, OYCL inaugural cohort

Roan Head
Kentucky

Roan Head, OYCL inaugural cohort

Notice something missing? Could it be YOU?

Applications for our next round of Opportunity Youth Congressional Liaison will open in September 2022.

For a look at what it means to be an Opportunity Youth Congressional Liaison, check out this video from our March 11 OYCL Information Session. Please contact Gerod Blue for more information.

March 11, 2022

 

Changing the odds for young people has never been more important