Virginia’s Youth in Action Application

Virginia’s Youth in Action

An Advocacy Council By Voices


Virginia’s Youth in Action Application (2023 – 2024 Cohort)

Advocacy is the act of supporting or arguing for a cause that you believe in. Voices for Virginia’s Children champions public policies and legislation that achieve positive and equitable outcomes for young people. You can learn more about our primary policy areas here and you can explore our refreshed Vision, Mission, and Theory of Change here.

Voices for Virginia’s Children hosts a 9-month cohort of young changemakers on our advocacy council, Virginia’s Youth in Action (VAYA). This youth development program will enhance young advocates’ abilities to engage with lawmakers to advance their communities through advocacy, storytelling, and community engagement. This cohort will learn how to share their stories and experiences with others and provide feedback on policies that affect them. The purpose of the cohort is to create a space for youth to have a voice at the table and establish meaningful change and influence in the systems that have impacted their lives.



VAYA participants may earn up to $1800 based on attendance to monthly trainings with opportunity to earn more with completion of additional advocacy opportunities through May 2024. This program will also provide:

  • Networking and development opportunities
  • Professional connections and mentorship
  • Training and experience in state-level advocacy
  • Personal reflection and growth opportunities
  • For those residing outside of Richmond: an overnight stay in Richmond for the Advocacy Summit and Advocacy Day

The in-person Advocacy Summit (Monday, January 15, 2024) and Advocacy Day (Tuesday, January 16) will include a day of training and preparation and a day of legislative visits and activities with state-level delegates and senators.


Sample Meeting Schedule

The majority of our monthly trainings or workshops will be virtual through Zoom on Saturday mornings, from 10:00am – 11:30am. Below is the projected meeting schedule, subject to change as needed.

  • September 23, 2023, 10:00am
  • October 24, 2023, 10:00am
  • November 11, 2023, 10:00am
  • December 9, 2023, 10:00am
  • January 6, 2024, 10:00am
  • Monday, January 15, 2024, in-person in Richmond, VA, 1:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Advocacy Day! Tuesday, January 16, 2024, in-person, 7:00am – 3:00pm
  • February 17, 2024, 10:00am
  • March 16, 2024, 10:00am
  • April 27, 2024, 10:00am
  • VAYA Graduation: May 25, 2024, 10:00am


How to Apply: 

All individuals interested in applying to join Virginia’s Youth in Action must complete an online application (below), including general demographic information and a 2-5 minute video or 300-500 brief essay answering the questions outlined in the prompt.

We’re not expecting you to be a policy expert! We’re excited to hear what you’re passionate about and what motivates you to make changes in your community and across Virginia.

To learn more about advocacy and the entire program and projected events/activities as you consider applying or nominating others, you can register for an interest meeting, posted under our Events. You may also contact Kristin Lennox ( or Cat Atkinson ( if you need any support completing your application or to explore further questions you may have. 



Applications are due by 11:59pm on Sunday, August 6, 2023.


This form cannot be saved, so if you choose to write your essay, you are encouraged to write your essay elsewhere and then complete the form and copy-paste your essay when you are ready to submit.


And finally, a note on our selection process: We know that lawmakers in Virginia don’t always look or live like the people who elect them. This cohort is designed to represent those who are most commonly underrepresented in Virginia state policy and politics. We select candidates based on diverse representation across geography, and underrepresented identities (like race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or socioeconomic status). For this reason, we use an objective rubric to assess all applications and we also consider geographic representation so that all areas of Virginia can be represented equitably (ex. if we have many applicants from Northern Virginia, we may only select 1 or 2).