About Leading Now
Our vision is that all communities and states in the U.S. recognize that young people not only have a stake in the decisions made by community leaders and policymakers, but that with proper training and support for both youth and adults, young people can make important contributions to those decisions.
The mission of Leading Now is to expand civic participation through youth engagement in community leadership and decision-making. We work with policymakers and civic leaders to develop opportunities for young people to participate in the decisions that affect them, their families and communities, with the belief that such opportunities will encourage young people to stay engaged as they become adults. We identify effective youth participation practices, policies and tools being used in the United States and elsewhere, and we share these resources and ideas through workshops and our website.
Leading Now promotes youth involvement in decisions that affect them by providing information about model youth participation programs and policies around the world, and by providing training and support for young people and the adults who work with them and advocate for them. We also work to convince decision makers at all levels of the value of engaging young people in the development of policy by producing policy-related resources, presenting at events aimed at policymakers, speaking at public hearings and by providing advocacy training to youth, educators and youth service providers.
In the United States we often speak of young people as the leaders of the future. But young people are already serving every day as community leaders and decision makers all over the world. Leading Now seeks out examples of such leadership and the programs and policies that enable them, and makes these models available to those who recognize that with training and support, young people can lead right now!
Leading Now is operated by Jeff Miller. Jeff has worked as the service-learning coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, as a policy analyst at the National Center for Learning and Citizenship at the Education Commission of the States, and as an independent consultant for organizations such as the Colorado Department of Education, the Institute on the Common Good at Regis University, the Education Commission of the States and the Colorado Partnership for Educational Renewal.
Jeff discovered his passion for involving youth in decision-making while serving as a founding board member of the Wisconsin Rural Challenge alongside several board members who were still in high school, including one who served as the board's vice-president! Jeff was a founding editor of the Minority Achievement Bulletin in Madison and a co-founder and steering committee member of the Colorado Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools. Jeff has served on the Madison School Board's Partnerships Committee, the Wisconsin State Superintendent's Civics Action Task Force, Serve Wisconsin (the Wisconsin National and Community Service Board), the "Growing Up, Getting Ready" Community Solutions Team of the United Way of Dane County, the board of the Colorado Institute for Leadership Training and the board of Community Resources, Inc., a nonprofit that provides services for students and their families at schools in low-income Denver neighborhoods. Jeff also founded the Colorado Youth Leadership Network.