Helping NY students find their civic voice
We started YCI as a small group of NYC public high school students when we saw that students were taking to the streets, but didn't know how to “Take the Next Step” to get engaged in a sustained way. We wanted to find a way to connect our peers to the youth-led organizations leading the sustained fight for justice.
Our goal is to connect students to long-lasting civic opportunities at the frontlines of the youth activist movement that are otherwise difficult to find.
We are building out a platform with our website, social media and newsletter, to bring together the events, workshops, and internship/fellowship opportunities for students to discover the multitude of options to make a difference in climate change, education, racial justice, and more.
Jason Bohner is an 20-year-old graduate of the Bronx Science. Jason founded YCI after seeing a lack of sustained civic engagement amongst his peers. He wanted to create an accessible platform to connect young people to the youth-led organizations fighting each and every day for our futures. Jason understands the power of young people to collectivize and advocate for progress. He hopes to encourage enduring engagement by opening the door for young people to find opportunities for empowerment.
Lila De La Vega
Lila (she/hers) is a senior in high school at Bard Queens. She is interested in politics, law, and community activism. She plans to major in Public Policy.
Social Media Team Member
Jigmey (he/him) is a junior at Bard High School Early College Queens. He is interested in minority representation and looks forward to educating himself and others about current issues. In his free time, he enjoys singing karaoke and playing with his dog.
Ariana (she/hers) is a senior in high school at the Academy of American Studies. She is passionate about politics and civic engagement. She enjoys painting, listening to podcasts and coding.
Social Media Team Member
Jeyka Rojas (she/her) is a sophomore from the Bronx who is currently attending Bard High School Early College Queens. She looks forward to collaborating with multiple organizations in order to promote change and make a difference in our community. Jeyka also enjoys going on walks with her dog and reading books
Jane is a civic education advocate who loves working with young people and supporting their civic engagement. A daily distance runner who is passionate about art and travel, Jane has clocked a lot of miles exploring parks, museums and cultural sites.
Outreach Team Member
Erina Chowdhury (she/her) is a junior attending TYWLS Bronx. Her passions include journalism, advocacy, and fighting for justice in New York City through civic engagement and local politics. She's deeply interested in helping out her community and increasing youth civics throughout the country, which made her initially join YCI's team. Outside of her school days, she enjoys reading and baking cookies.
Social Media Department Director
Lillian Kim-Mallow is a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. She is a Movement Correspondent for the YCI. She plans to major in Political Science.
Outreach Team Member
Liv (she/her) is a junior at Hunter College High School. She is passionate about giving young people the tools to get involved in their communities through civic engagement and mutual aid. A poet, Liv is especially interested in using journalism, poetry, and spoken word to help young people find their voices. Outside of organizing, she enjoys running, listening to music, trying new food, and exploring New York City.
Meet the Team
Lukas Ruano-Lumpris is a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School. He enjoys video games, reading, and finance. His goal is to help make the business world better for the people with less exploitation. He also has an interest in school equity and how discrimination can play a part in the public school system. He wants to major in marketing when he goes to college.
Josh (he/him) is a high school junior at Golda Och Academy in West Orange, New Jersey. He deeply believes in the power of writing to have a positive impact on the world. In his free time, he enjoys writing and taking naps.
Ary Hammerman is a sophomore at the Leffell School in Hartsdale, New York. She is passionate about writing and journalism and dreams to work for the New York Times. Hammerman is involved in many writing programs and loves to read, draw, and listen to music.
Emma (she/her) is a Junior at Maynard Jackson High School in Atlanta, Georgia. She loves watching movies and baseball. She is excited to explore political issues in Atlanta.
Emmie is a fourteen-year-old, eight-time published writer currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee. She's a regular contributor with YR Media and has been published in local newspapers, national magazines and an anthology. She's an active Girls Write Now, Girls With Impact, and WriteGirl mentee, on YR Media's Youth Creator Council, on Teen Ink's Teen Board, and the winner of five writing awards. She has conducted interviews with business leaders, authors, and actors. Despite her young age, she has already reported on various newsy-events, including a business conference and a press junket. She's currently working on a compilation of resources for young writers.
Kayra is a sophomore from American Heritage schools, Florida. She is the social media correspondent and entertainment editor for her school’s Newspaper, iPatriopost. When not trying to meet her deadlines, Kayra likes to spend her time cuddling her cat, listening to her favorite artists, reading books, painting, or writing. She is interested in learning the bass and playing volleyball. Kayra is looking forward to working with the Youth Civics Initiative!
Bridget E Frawley
Jemma (she/her) is currently a junior at Tenafly High School in New Jersey. She is thrilled to be part of the YCI team. Jemma is extremely passionate about women's rights and climate change. She loves to read, cook, and listen to Taylor Swift.
Ami Gelman is a freshman at Denver Academy of Torah. He is interested in all things politics and is passionate about civil rights, sports, music, and reading. During his free time, he enjoys coding, and learning new languages.
Sophene Avedissian is a sophomore attending high school in California. She serves as a member of the Editorial Board for her school's newspaper. Outside of school and her writing for YCI, Sophene is a writer for GEN-ZiNE and The Teen Magazine. She also writes for the Los Angeles Times High School Insider, where she is also a member of their Student Advisory Board. Additionally, Sophene serves as an editor for Polyphony Lit and INK-Spire. As a writer for YCI, Sophen highlights important issues and topics through her writing while placing emphasis on youth perspectives. During her free time, Sophene enjoys reading, playing soccer, and baking.
Heather Mooney is a Sophomore at Bard Highschool Early College Manhattan and works as a movement correspondent for NYYCI. She is passionate about writing and hopes to per-sue a career as a journalist. She also enjoys playing piano and the drums and is learning to speak Mandarin.