What is CYD?

What is Creative Youth Development?

Creative Youth Development is a commitment to supporting young people’s stories, ideas, and dreams through creative expression and honoring their lived experience.

In order to create environments that promote Creative Youth Development, these three concepts must be present:

Racial Equity and Social Justice

Shaking up the system to create a space where all people of color feel represented, supported, and cared for.

Creating an even playing field where young people’s needs are understood, their stories are heard, and they are treated as equals.

“We as youth must now be the change that we seek. If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.”

– Joann Davis, Visual Arts Intern, RYSE Youth Center

Youth Voices

Youth speak for themselves and have voices that are valuable.

An adult’s role is to be an ally – not a critic – to value youth’s stories and experiences and ensure youth leadership and decision making within organizations and programs.

“As youth of this city we need to resist. Show adults that we are not what they think we are, speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. We need to flip the script.”

– Isaiah Grant, Video Fellow and Poet, RYSE Youth Center

Collective Action

All voices are essential to supporting racial equity, youth voice, and social justice.

It takes a community to create change, to generate new ideas, and to shake the system.

“Be water. Flood the system.”

– Marques Egan, Youth Leader and Administrative Assistant, RYSE Youth Center


The text within this graphic are repeated in the page's body text.

Check out our video showcase for stories of youth experiences in leadership, racial equity and social justice, and collective action in their communities — the core values of Creative Youth Development.