Creating Change


Advocacy means speaking out for yourself or for other people. This can mean talking to school officials, policy makers, and others about why something is important. Usually people advocate to make a change. Below are a few resources about how to advocate. a cartoon of people sitting at a table. one person is speaking into a mic.

1. The Riot! is an e-newsletter written by people with disabilities. It is all about self-advocacy. It comes out four times a year and you can sign up for it to come to your email.

2. Thoughts About Self Advocacy is an online article written by Michael Kennedy. It is about the experience he has had with the self advocacy movement. Here the self-advocacy movement means a movement of people with developmental disabilities leading themselves. In it, he talks about the reactions people have to self-advocacy.

3. The Self Empowerment Fact Sheet was created by The Youth Advisory Committee for the National Council on Disability. The advisory council no longer exists but you can still download the fact sheet.. It gives helpful tips for youth advocates about ways to be successful in a meeting.

4. Organizers for America and are two great online job search engines for people who want to work for non-profits. Both are free.

5. Skills and Strategies for Media Literacy is a pretty accessible article that explains why we must develop skills in understanding the stories mass media tells. It gives a few things youth can look for in media articles.

6. Literacy for the 21st Century (pdf) is a 27 page teacher’s guide about media literacy. It covers why youth should question mainstream media messaging and questions we can ask to pull out messages about what is being said about us.

7. Project NIA is an organization that works to end youth violence. They have developed curriculum that talks about violence using poetry and also have a lot of information on violence, the prison industrial complex, and young people. Their blog “Exploring the Roots of Violence” has tons of curriculum, outlines, and workshops you can download.

8. Search Institute Press is an organization that puts out materials to support healthy community building for youth. They have five great 30-40 page accessible guides you can download for free if you sign up. Some of them include “How to Hold A Youth Summit,” “Take It Personally Facilitator’s Guide”, and “First Steps in Evaluation: Basic Tools for Asset-Building Initiatives”.


Direct Action is a kind of activism. Direct Action is using civil disobedience [something that disrupts the public] to bring attention to an injustice. a cartoon silhouette of people marching and holding signs

1. ADAPT is a disability activism organization that uses non-violent direct-action as a strategy to create change. When they began, they fought for accessible transportation. Now they are working to create community support options so people with disabilities don’t have to live in nursing homes.

2. Non-Violent Direct Action Organizing Guide is a link to a one-page guide that explains what direct action is and things to consider if you are planning to organize a direct action.

3. The Section 504 Sit In was the longest sit-in in a federal building in US history. A sit-in is a kind of direct action. The Section 504 Sit In was led by disabled people. It took place in 1977. People at the sit-in were fighting for the right of people with disabilities to access public-funded services. Section 504 was a law that paved the way for the Americans with Disabilities Act. National Public Radio did a radio story about the 504 Sit In.

4. How to Be An Activist is a link to a web resource page that explains what an activist is and gives a list of resources on how to be an activist.

5. Dynamics of Organizing is an online training manual by Shel Trapp, an ADAPT leader who recently passed away. In it, he talks about who has power and he gives tips for mobilizing a group of people.


Community building means bringing a group of people together. Usually community building means bringing people together who have a shared identity, values, or beliefs. Sometimes community building is to protest something unfair. Other times it is to educate ourselves. It can also be just for fun, so people get to know each other.

1.Living the Power (pdf) is a 50 + page handbook created by a group out of Chicago called AYLP (Advanced Youth Leadership Power Program). It is about how to create a youth with disability activist group. It talks about how to create a campaign, what tactics to use to create change, and other important topics.  cartoon of people making music together

2. The Source is an online search engine full of activities and tools facilitators can use to get a group thinking about social justice a group. You can search through it by target audience (e.g. youth, adults, etc), oppression (e.g. racism, ableism) or type of activity (e.g. skit, ice breaker). It is one of our new favorite resources!

3. Racial Equity Tools has a lot of online tipsheets in PDF format. They help people think about what kind of work they want to do, why and how before doing it. This is important before starting a project or group.

4. Gaining Clarity and Building Political Unity In Your Group is a document created by an organization called Southerners on New Ground. It is a guide to a group activity that helps a group learn more about each other. It is a great resource for a new group of people who want to create change together. It helps people in the group learn about each other, what motivates group members to create change, and ways people want to create change.

5. Build the Wheel is a new site that is designed to share social justice curriculum groups can use for free. Free, great curriculum is so rare so NYLN is really excited by this!

6. The House Party – Partying with An Agenda (.pdf) is a 12 page book on how to throw a fun, money-making party. It was written by the late Vicki Quatmann of Southern Empowerment, an organization that is not in existence any more. It has everything you need to know and is very aeasy to understand.

7. Guide to Cooperative Games for Social Change (.pdf) is a 20 book by Common Action about games that build unity. The activities explore of trust, teambuilding, communication, and social
change by actively involving everyone.

8. A Beginner’s Guide to Putting On A Show (.pdf) is a zine by Jen Angel, founder of Clamor Magazine. From how much to charge to where to get sound equipment, it covers everything you need to put on a show (concert or benefit)!

9. Questions You Should Ask At the Start of a Project (pdf) is a one page sheet to get you thinking before starting a project. It goes over purpose, structure, capacity and more. It is by the Rock Dove Collective, a collective of radical health workers. They have other resources on their website as well, such as how to handle conflict and manage your time.

You can also find resources about facilitation and other skills for leading groups under the Youth Voice Page.