Transformation at Teens Take Charge
I believe that it’s important to share tales that inspire us. In these times especially, it means something to honor the stories of people and collectives that model courage, humanity, and bravery. We must uplift the movements, moments, and spaces — big or small — that help shift paradigms.
Our work at A.M. Consulting includes supporting organizations to become the best versions of themselves. Today I’d like to share the story of an organization that embraced change in a way that inspired me, and created positive ripple effects throughout their community.
I’d like to share with you the bravery of Teens Take Charge (TTC).
TTC is a student-led, intergenerational organization fighting for educational equity in NYC. A collective that since their inception has “provided a platform for New York City high school students to share their experiences in the school system on stages across the city, at official hearings, in meetings with policymakers, on television broadcasts, and in the pages of major news outlets”, where “members study present-day educational inequity, its historical roots, develop policy proposals to address specific problems, and lead advocacy campaigns targeting the city and school officials with the ability to enact their solutions.”
Teens Take Charge leveraged the support of A.M. Consulting during a critical point in their history — a time where internal conflict, disillusionment, and burnout led them to consider closing their doors.
For a year, the TTC community committed to transforming their organization. Their journey included healing work, freedom dreaming, and capacity building. We designed systems rooted in community care, conflict bravery, and accountability. Those systems have worked.
“This partnership breathed new life to TTC, changed lives, and transformed how we see ourselves and how we function and work together as a community of organizers…The last 9 months are a testament to the change we’ve made internally to heal as a community, to build our collective capacity, and to develop internal systems to prevent us from repeating past mistakes. As an organization we hit the reset button. To be honest, for many of us, we didn’t know it was possible. But belief, will, external support, and internal organizing efforts took us further than we ever imagined.”
While most organizations navigate their challenges in the dark, away from partners, community members, and funders, TTC did the opposite. TTC bravely shared their challenges and their journey towards transformation with their entire community. They invited partner organizations, funders and supporters to learn from their experience.
“In the spirit of radical transparency and in the hopes that this inspires others to believe in the power of transformative change through accountability, healing, capacity building and community building”
The truth is, challenges like interpersonal conflict, conflict avoidant culture, time-scarce hustle culture, and the absence of targeted capacity building are not unique to Teens Take Charge. These are challenges that most, if not all, organizations face.
Unfortunately these challenges generally persist because what it takes to overcome them, most have never seen. We are rarely taught to heal, to engage in community care, or to embrace conflict in healthy ways within the workplace. I am so moved by TTC’s willingness to be transparent about their own organizational journey with the goal of inspiring others. I hope that sharing this inspires you.
Since our partnership, Teens Take Charge has restored relationships with former organizers, organizational leaders in their network have expressed support and interest in engaging in similar work, and funders have recommitted financial support.
Learn more about their journey and where Teens Take Charge is headed now via this virtual gallery that they’ve shared with their community.