In their first year of Teach For America in 2015, Jake Lerner and Andrew Spector recognized two things: 1) that their classrooms were filled with exceptional young people capable of creating positive impact in Tulsa right now, and 2) although they (as TFA corps members) were being told by the Tulsa community that they were valuable community assets, their students were not always getting the same message. Jake and Andrew started Tulsa Changemakers because they believe the youth of Tulsa and their families are critical community assets. They are driven by their conviction that long-term and sustainable community transformation happens when communities are mobilized to drive their own change.
Tulsa Changemakers is an asset-based and youth-driven leadership development and action program that empowers the young people of Tulsa to make meaningful change in their schools and communities. Middle and high school cohorts leverage their unique perspectives to identify problems and opportunities, commit to well-researched solutions, and drive real change. In the process, youth form meaningful relationships with influential people and organizations, build skills in leadership and design thinking, and generate momentum for success in school and beyond. Tulsa Changemakers engages scholars primarily from the Nathan Hale and McLain High School feeder patterns.
In the Pilot Program (2016-17), Tulsa Changemakers ran a 12-session afterschool program for 14 students in grades 5 through 7 from Tulsa Legacy Charter School, Bell Elementary, Dove Science Academy, Carver Middle School, and Mitchell Elementary. Changemakers listened to and learned from people in their schools and communities that crime, racism, underperforming schools, and unequal access to stores and grocery stores are four of the most pressing issues in Tulsa. In response, the Changemakers planned, recruited for, and led a peer mentorship and tutoring program and a diversity field day.
In the first full year of the program (2017-18), Tulsa Changemakers will run a 28-session afterschool program for one middle school and one high school cohort from the Nathan Hale and McLain High School feeder patterns. Tulsa Changemakers will also partner with Tulsa Public Schools and their Kickstart program to implement Tulsa Changemakers during the school day and at Hamilton and Anderson Elementary.
Our mission is to empower promising youth-leaders to drive positive impact in Tulsa right now and into the future.
Our vision is a future where Tulsa is a model city for youth-driven impact. The youth are core catalysts for impact in their communities, and communities are actively engaged in identifying, developing, and empowering youth as leaders. Tulsa is consistently cultivating highly effective community leaders eager to empower successive generations.