Our Mission

YDEKC connects, strengthens, and amplifies the leaders of youth-serving organizations so that Black, Indigenous, and young people of color thrive.


YDEKC strives to center antiracist policies and practices in our work to ensure that leaders at every organizational level have opportunities to strengthen their skills and peer networks to advance along their own pathway. We also work to strengthen the youth development field through advocacy and awareness raising of the critical work that our sector does to build the ecosystem of supports young people need to thrive.

Our vision is that every every young person has the opportunity and support they need to learn, lead, connect, contribute, and thrive.

We are committed to antiracism and racial equity.

Racial equity is a result of antiracist policies, practices, and actions. We are committed to building a society where race is not a predictor of one’s success. We address racism and racial inequities in our own organizations while also working for the policies, programs, and systems in other sectors that will lead to optimum outcomes for all.

As a coalition of youth- serving organizations working to support young people to thrive, we must be explicit and committed to centering Black, Indigenous and People of Color in our programs and activities – the leaders among us, and the young people we serve.

We believe in a youth development approach.

Applying a youth development approach improves experiences for young people in all types of youth programs from expanded learning and afterschool programs to behavioral health to supporting young people experiencing homelessness. The tenets of a youth development approach also improve experiences for adults. We strive to apply this approach in our own programming and offerings to our members, internally with our own staff team, and encourage our members to do the same.

We believe in learning in community.

Thriving organizations are continually learning. YDEKC’s work focuses on relationships and learning in community with peers, sharing from experience and gaining support from others doing similar work. We intentionally bring together people that are diverse in terms of race and other aspects of our identities and who have different lived experiences and perspectives. We provide a variety of opportunities for our members to connect, learn, lead, and act to collectively strengthen the youth development sector.