NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Young New Orleanians and sector leaders joined more than 75 attendees from across New Orleans as part of Tuesday’s virtual event to present solutions to improve child well-being across multiple sectors in the city—including health, education, public safety, and economic stability—as part of the second phase of the city’s first-ever Youth Master Plan.

The Youth Master Plan will serve as a 10-year, comprehensive roadmap for creating a positive youth development-focused, results-oriented New Orleans and is facilitated by the New Orleans Children & Youth Planning Board (CYPB), the Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families (OYF), and the New Orleans Youth Alliance (NOYA), with co-direction and co-authorship by New Orleans youth. Mayor LaToya Cantrell signed an Executive Order on July 13, formalizing the city’s commitment to executing the strategies outlined in the Plan while calling upon city agencies and departments to participate in the plan’s implementation.

“I truly believe that our work together over the next five years will pay off dividends for the next 50,” said Mayor Cantrell as part of the event. “I’m especially thrilled to see recommendations in the plan that call for free transit for our young people, increasing investments in early childhood education and after school programming, and doubling down on technical training in new growing industries such as technology and manufacturing.”

Phase 2 action steps are centered around six youth development areas and focus on key action strategies, including the below:

  • Increasing opportunities for youth participation and leadership in boards, committees, commissions, and planning efforts across the city

  • Ensuring the public transit system encompasses the entire New Orleans metro area, and is safe, and lower-cost or free to youth

  • Advocating for increased minimum wage with equitable benefits

  • Decreasing the number of of young people who enter the criminal justice system,

  • And more

“New Orleans is making the bold move of launching its first Youth Master Plan and in so doing, we demonstrate our commitment to seeing our city’s youth through a new lens that lifts up strengths, assets and value for the children and youth in our city,” said Karen Evans, Executive Director Children and Youth Planning Board. “The new lens and narrative see youth as a part of the solution, worthy of investments, partners in the work forward for better outcomes, and sets up space for adults to share power with young people as we work together to address the need for systems change. The New Orleans Youth Master Plan is our tool to coordinate our collective actions that move change forward and get the outcomes our children and youth need to succeed now and tomorrow.”

The event programming was co-facilitated by CYPB’s Youth Advisory Board, a group of young New Orleanians ages 14 to 24 who co-created a new vision for New Orleans while guiding the development of the Youth Master Plan. The Youth Advisory Board will lead on the implementation of the Plan alongside other key stakeholders, including parents, educators, community leaders, and more.

“While youth voice has grown with the help of social media, justice movements, and recent elections, changes must also be made here in our own communities,” said Christina You, a Youth Advisory Board of CYPB member. “That’s where the Youth Master Plan steps in, where plans surrounding areas of safe spaces, justice, economic stability, and learning are led by youth for youth.”

With discussions centered on everything from funding early education to dismantling adultism, Tuesday’s launch also featured appearances from industry professionals and sector leaders like Dr. Torin Sanders and Larry Barabino Jr, CEO New Orleans Recreation Development (NORD) Commission.

“The Youth Master Plan in action builds youth leadership, positioning young people as agents of change, experts of their own lives, and capable of working with adults to lead New Orleans in becoming a more compassionate, just, and equitable city,” said Dr. Shannon Perry, Director of Student Support and Attendance within NOLA Public Schools and Steering Committee Member of the Youth Master Plan.

Moving forward, Youth Master Plan action strategy owners will implement immediate next steps and monitor progress via data, as outlined in the two-year action strategies.

“Our mission doesn’t just involve City officials. It involves every New Orleanian, as it truly takes a village to mesh the pieces needed for the adoption of the Youth Master Plan,” said Tyler Finley, Youth Advisory Board of CYPB. “Whether you volunteer in one of our sectors or share the Plan with a neighbor, your help is needed.”

Explore Phase 2 of the Youth Master Plan here.