Meet YAC member and YouthVoiceNYC Intern Samuel Pugo and hear more about his experience as a youth advocate with RAP!
My name is Samuel Pugo, and I live in the South Bronx. Many young people like me are dedicated to joining a common cause that’s meaningful to them. I joined the Resilience Advocacy Project (RAP) in 2013 as a member of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), eventually becoming the YouthVoiceNYC Intern.
One of the main reasons I joined RAP was the idea of peer engagement: knowing that other youth would respect my ideas. This I particularly recognized in my very first year as a Freshman at RAP, where our first campaign was the first ever Youth-Led Mayoral Debate. During one of our YAC meetings, students were discussing many different topics that would be addressed during the mayoral debate. These topics ranged from school budgeting to LGBQT rights; no matter the issue, there still was a deep respect for each other's ideas and beliefs. RAP is a safe place where youth can voice their thoughts, and this first campaign was instrumental in helping us build strong advocacy, social justice, public speaking and investigative skills.
RAP is an organization I stay involved with in order to grow intellectually. I have been able to acquire skills here that as a teenager would be very difficult to obtain anywhere else. For instance, this year I had the privilege of participating in one of RAP’s “site visits," where I spoke with prospective donors about the impact their support would have on RAP and how important it is to keep programs like YAC running to make a difference among youth. The staff at RAP continuously support and propel you to do your best and to keep trying to make that difference, regardless of the issue we choose to tackle.
Hear more from Samuel next week on YAC's decision to tackle food justice! And make sure to register for the Youth Food Justice Summit!