Upstanders Youth Leadership Council

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Upstanders YWCA Hanover’s Youth Leadership Council

Upstanders meets on the last Thursday of every month, with occasional special events held on additional days. Upstanders is facilitated by Deb Smith, Social/Racial Justice Coordinator, and retired Hanover Public School teacher in partnership with various teachers from local school districts. We have students from grades 7 and up, representing many of the local school districts. Participating in the program is free and with no commitment – kids participate in the events they have interest in or are available for and the program does not build upon previous workshops.

Here are a few things the students have participated in:

* Martin Luther King Day at Guthrie Memorial Library, where they had mini workshops on the life and work of MLK Jr., learned how they could be safe social/racial justice advocates, provided volunteer service at the library, and ended the day with open dialogue and questions.

* The students are very involved in the direction of the program and as a group decided to create care packages for the homeless that were then distributed at the Hanover Area Council of Churches

* Since restrictions due to COVID-19 limit in person contact, the group has meet virtually via ZOOM and discussed how to further engage socially distanced. Students suggested a youth book club focused on current events and a book titled Dear Martin has been chosen.

Upstanders is so may things – workshops, guest speakers, volunteerism, advocacy and so much more. The students have so many ideas, interest, and questions, regarding positive change – the program encourages all of them. We are very excited to be able to offer this program to the youth in our community as it underscores YWCA Hanover’s mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

The program is tailored towards youth and young adults, with that in mind, all events and material are carefully considered and approved. Once restrictions are lifted the group will once again reconvene here at YWCA Hanover, 23 West Chestnut Street, Hanover.

Should you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to Deb Smith, Social /Racial Justice Coordinator at or Rosemary Cintron, Program/Volunteer Coordinator at

Meeting Minutes

YWCA Hanover
Upstanders Youth Council
Thursday, June 25, 2020
6:00 pm

*Book club meeting on Monday, June 29 (Dear Martin).

*We started the meeting by talking about issues of the day.

The murder of George Floyd and other black men.

What can be done to train the police: there are good police officers, but they all need more training.

The topic of systemic racism was discussed. It will take a lot of work to change.

Have you ever seen discrimination in the classroom? Some has been seen in the middle school.

More observation of racial slurs and name calling of the LBGTQ in hallways, lunch room, etc.

*Discussion of the attacks on the trans community (trans women of color)

*Great job on the Upstanders video!

*Upcoming event ideas:

Puppet skits for children

Workshop designed, organized, and taught by the Upstanders (this would be geared toward high school/upper middle school students).

Keynote speaker

Breakout session ideas: equality, religions, history of racism, gender/queer community.

Chalk mural on sidewalk in front of the YWCA

Art contest

*We will meet in person in August.

Thank you for a great meeting!!! You kids are awesome!!!