FLY Youth Voice

FLY believes that youth are the experts of their own experience, and amplifying their voices is part of FLY’s DNA. FLY itself was founded upon the ideas and feedback provided by youth involved in the juvenile justice system hoping to prevent other young people from having the same fate. Twenty years later, we continue to honor this tradition by engaging and collaborating with young people as true partners in our work.

FLY’s Youth Voice Initiative was launched in 2019 as a strategic plan designed to leverage young people’s stories and perspectives. It builds off a belief that FLY’s programs create opportunities for young people, which enable them to find their voice to narrate their own stories, which then allows them to create change in the public narrative of young people in the justice system. Our three main goals are systems change, organizational effectiveness, and leadership/professional development for our youth.


Currently, FLY is utilizing youth voice as a catalyst for systems change work through initiatives such as the Youth Advisory Council, a partnership with the Santa Clara County Probation Department and Alameda County Probation Department; California Justice Leaders, a partnership with Impact Justice to help reintegrate system-involved youth back into their communities; the Youth Voice Policy Fellowship, a professional development program for FLY alumni; and localized youth voice policy activation, which offers support given to provide civic engagement opportunities to current and former FLY program participants.

In FLY’s IMAGINE 2030 strategic plan, our vision for the future of youth voice is that it is implemented not only throughout FLY, but within our collaborations with system partners and the community. Young people affected by the system will lead the process to elevate their voices, and create a more effective, humane, and just system for all youth.


  • Learning for Action published a detailed case study about Youth Advisory Council as a deep dive into this unique and outstanding program.
  • Our STAY FLY Case Study offers recommendations to improve justice systems practices based on FLY’s experiences supporting transition-aged youth ages 18-25
  • Our TAY Policy Brief for legislators and administrators explains how to innovate their approach to responding to the needs of TAY caught up in the adult criminal justice system
  • Oakland’s Reimagining Public Safety Task Force Youth Advisory Board, convened and facilitated by FLY, profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle. You can read more interviews and stories about our youth on our news page.
  • We are honored when our young people share their stories with us. Read about their amazing journeys on this page: FLY Youth Stories
  • Get news and stories about FLY and our young people by joining our email list: subscribe here.
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