Former Oakland Public School Director Rachael Meyers to Pilot Growing Nonprofit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Monica Inouye, External Affairs Advisor, email@example.com
Oakland, CA — Youth on Root (YoR) announced that Rachael Meyers (she/her/hers) has been named Program Director to lead its mission to center low-income youth as change agents in the environmental justice movement. She will lead the strategic development of the organization and drive the implementation of its core programs: the environmental justice curriculum and youth convenings.
Meyers brings over 10 years of experience working in the intersection of youth leadership and environmental education, and most recently worked as the Director of Programs at North Oakland Community Charter School. She implemented programming to uplift and empower students and staff, including creating a radically equitable after school program, in-school affinity spaces, recurrent Restorative Justice community building circles and co-led the development of a new equitable hiring toolkit.
“[W]hat really set Rachael apart was her authentic connection to California communities we serve and the way her upbringing shapes and informs her leadership in this space."
“Over the last two years, YoR has grown from a seed of an idea to a fully blossomed, youth-driven project. Our Advisory Council—10 unpaid volunteers who staffed this project outside of their day jobs—created something that makes me incredibly proud,” said YoR Founder and President Candice Youngblood. “But we recognized our limits and that YoR's dramatic growth called for someone who could lead full-time in this next chapter.”
Youngblood said Meyers is exactly the leader YoR needs.
“When I first met her during our Program Director search, I was impressed by her experience supporting and empowering young Black and Brown youth, as well as her experience managing and mentoring the young adults who work with youth. But what really set Rachael apart was her authentic connection to California communities we serve and the way her upbringing shapes and informs her leadership in this space. As I transition into more of a governance role with the rest of the Advisory Council, I could not ask for a better successor at the helm.”
“Partnership and collaboration are central to my leadership style, and I try to live by the old proverb: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.'"
Originally from New England where she struggled to find belonging as a gumptious mixed Black girl, nature was Rachael’s safe haven; working with children as a camp counselor and child care provider brought her agency and purpose. Meyers attended Bennington College where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Black Literature. She found her permanent home in Oakland, California in the unceded territory of the Chochenyo Ohlone people, where she works to support her community in solidarity and complicity. Her personal mission is to nurture self-determination in Black and Brown youth as they grow into their power as radically liberated community leaders who have a deep sense of belonging and connection with nature. Meyers believes deeply that young people hold the answers to protecting our planet, and finds immense joy in supporting their ever-evolving vision and growth.
“I’m so excited to bring my experience with school program development and youth leadership to the YoR team as we grow and implement sustainable youth-led programs rooted in our environmental justice curriculum and core values,” Meyers said. “Partnership and collaboration are central to my leadership style, and I try to live by the old proverb: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.’”
Meyers will work closely with the Advisory Council and Youth Advisory Board to realize measurable positive outcomes for California youth. “I look forward to growing the already expansive Youth on Root network as we do this work in community with the many incredible people and organizations in California who work toward genuine environmental justice and liberation for Black and Brown communities.”
ABOUT YOUTH ON ROOT
Based in California, Youth on Root’s mission is to center low-income youth and youth of color as change agents in their communities by providing tools for learning from each other and opportunities to use their unique power to promote environmental justice. We envision a self-sustaining grassroots movement led by youth who have meaningful opportunities to enact their visions of environmental justice for their communities.