Youth Organizing & Development


Students leading transformational change inside schools, shifting from policing and expulsions to supportive school climate.

Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) is a core Communities United project. VOYCE develops a leadership pipeline of low-income youth who are directly impacted by the school-to-prison pipeline. The VOYCE leadership pipeline works to advance safe and supportive school climates, and promotes the expansion of restorative justice practices and other trauma-informed supports, such as increasing resources for mental health in schools. Through VOYCE, young people have helped to create the nation’s most comprehensive statewide school discipline reform (Illinois SB100), which ended zero tolerance discipline policies at all publicly-funded schools in Illinois, placed stronger standards on the use of exclusionary discipline, ended practices such as discipline fines and counseling out, and created a thoughtful framework to expand restorative practices in schools.

On the day that marked one year after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, VOYCE youth leaders, accompanied by Brandon Dasent, a Parkland survivor, launching the Rethinking Safety Campaign, a campaign that calls for:

  • Increased access to mental and behavioral health in schools across Illinois through the creation of a grant program for school districts

  • Capital investments in school-based health clinics and

  • The public reporting of school-based arrests.

To get involved, please contact Maria Degillo at [email protected] or at 773-583-1387 to get involved in our organizing efforts!


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