NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229
Volume 10, Issue 1
January 15, 2010
Editors: Lexi Johnson, Emily Sanders and Julian Gutierrez

Table of Contents

-Petitioning Effort to Lower the Drinking Age in Vermont
-Round Two of Chase Community Giving Has Begun!
-Take Action! Join a NYRA Action Team!
-Echoing Green Fellowship Application
-Youth Rights Classics Available for Lending
-NYRA Blog Updates
-News From the Web


As we come into the new year, NYRA’s leadership is enthusiastic and confident that this will be our best year ever. We’ve started the year with a $25,000 grant, our largest ever, from our successful effort in the Chase Community Giving contest, we’ve made the second phase of the Echoing Green fellowship application process, and we’ve secured a number of large donations from both new donors and longtime supporters. This year’s annual meeting is set to take place in Boca Raton, Florida, the home of our highly successful Southeast Florida chapter. We hope you enjoy the first issue of the Freedom for 2010. We’ll be focusing on some of our recent accomplishments, some of the opportunities available to our supporters and on our plans for 2010.


January 17 – Board Meeting
8 pm – 10 pm Eastern
In the NYRA chatroom on AIM
IM SciVille if you need an invite

January 19 – Informal Chat
8 pm – 12 am Eastern
In the NYRA chatroom on AIM
IM SciVille if you need an invite

February 1 – Informal Chat
8 pm – 12 am Eastern
In the NYRA chatroom on AIM
IM SciVille if you need an invite

February 16 – Informal Chat
8 pm – 12 am Eastern
In the NYRA chatroom on AIM
IM SciVille if you need an invite

Petitioning Effort to Lower the Drinking Age in Vermont

As the “hub” of sorts of former Middlebury College president John McCardell, founder of drinking age reform group Choose Responsibility, Vermont stands poised to become a staging ground for popular opposition to a drinking age of 21. NYRA and Choose Responsibility are working together to promote a petition that will be given to the Vermont legislature on January 21. The petition will demonstrate support from the people of Vermont for legislation recently introduced that would re-consider the costs and benefits of the minimum legal drinking age of 21, and whether the highway funding that the federal government threatens to withhold from states should they lower that age is preventing substantive discussion on the topic through financial coercion. The bill will have a hearing on January 21, so all petition signatures need to be in by then. Please sign here.
This joint campaign will forge closer alliances with the nation’s two largest advocates of drinking age reform and, if passed, will be a powerful step forward for the ongoing effort to lower the drinking age. It is expected that this bill will generate a great deal of public debate and exposure for the issue. Please support this campaign if you are in Vermont. All residents of Vermont should sign the petition. Please also check out the Choose Responsibility website.

Round Two of Chase Community Giving Has Begun!

As NYRA was among the top 100 charities in last month’s Facebook contest, we also get to compete for even more money, beginning on January 15th, with NYRA standing a chance to win $1 million. You can cast your vote in the same manner as in Round 1, by following this link, and voting for NYRA. NYRA is an incredibly effective organization and has accomplished much despite its small budget. More resources equals more accomplishments. This contest is a chance to allow NYRA to become far more effective at promoting and protecting youth rights. Just as with the Round 1, we will not be able to win this without your help. Please vote, and encourage your friends and family to do so as well.

NYRA’s Annual Election Is Underway

Voting in the 2009 NYRA annual election, where the membership votes for a new slate of board members, is underway! This year’s election is the most competitive yet, with 14 qualified candidates running for nine available seats on the board of directors. NYRA’s slate of candidates this year is impressive, with several active chapter leaders running, as well as several incumbents. Former board member Dustin Manuel, who had previously announced his candidacy, has removed his name from contention; taking his place in the election is Pablo Vazquez, co-founder of NYRA’s chapter at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Take Action! Join a NYRA Action Team!

As NYRA becomes increasingly active and powerful, we always need the help of our grassroots membership. To that end, there are a number of tasks and teams available for supporters who want to help out and promote growth, as well as gain NYRA membership through service rather than payment. These tasks are posting to NYRA’s blog, Age of Reason, editing our wiki, the Youth Rights Network, submitting a youth rights oriented video for NYRA’s YouTube channel, writing youth-rights oriented letters to figures that can promote policy change (a verifiable email), fundraising for NYRA, and recruiting members to NYRA. Check out information on all Action Teams here. Every task you complete earns you points through our Facebook application. Points can be redeemed for NYRA merchandise and even NYRA membership. In addition to the Action Team page on the website, there is additional info on the NYRA forums.

Echoing Green Fellowship Application

NYRA’s Director of Development and Operations is proud to announce that Alex Koroknay-Palicz has made it to the second phase of the Echoing Green Fellowship Application Process. The fellowship would provide Alex with two years of salary ($30,000 a year) plus benefits. 1,100 applicants applied and 350 made it into the second round. To accelerate social change, Echoing Green invests in and supports outstanding emerging social entrepreneurs to launch organizations that deliver bold, high-impact solutions. To date, Echoing Green has invested over $28 million in seed funding to over 471 social entrepreneurs and their innovative organizations.

Youth Rights Classics Available for Lending

Last month we announced the revival of the NYRA book club. NYRA Freedom editor and ASFAR president Julian Gutierrez has 10 to 12 copies each of the youth rights classics Escape From Childhood and Birthrights available to lend to NYRA and ASFAR members. Both published in 1974, the books were the first to lay expansive foundations for youth rights theory, and garnered attention as a result of being written by youth-oriented professionals, John Holt, an educator, and Richard Farson, a psychologist. As the late Holt would today be 86 and Farson is 83, a father and grandfather, and still advocating youth rights, their publication demonstrates that youth rights is based on a vibrant philosophy that anyone can advocate, not simply rebellious teenagers. To be eligible to borrow the books, you simply must be a paid member of NYRA or an active member of ASFAR (which can be demonstrated by making ten substantive posts on the ASFAR forum), and must be willing to re-send the books to the next person interested in borrowing them. Contact him at jgutierrez@asfar.org to work out shipping details. Happy reading!


Rethink Review: The War on Kids http://blog.youthrights.org/2010/01/09/rethink-review-the-war-on-kids/
Talkin’ Smack About CC http://blog.youthrights.org/2010/01/08/talkin-smack/
Let’s Pick on Obese Kids http://blog.youthrights.org/2010/01/07/mandometer/
The Rush To Adulthood http://blog.youthrights.org/2010/01/06/the-rush-to-adulthood/


-NYRA Related
Charities criticize online fundraising contest by Chase

-Other News
Alahambra High School Locked Down After Student w/a weapon is arrested
Fast food standards for meat top those for school lunches
How childhood trauma can cause adult obesity
Teen Chess Genius is game’s youngest No. 1
Study: Drinking Alcohol Shrinks Brain Size
No Funny Faces In Yearbook!
7-year-old Painting Prodigy
Teenagers offered ‘Morning-after pill’ at pharmacies
Australian teen solo sailor marks 70 days at sea
Missing teenage sailor Laura Dekker found in Antilles
Dutch teen who sought solo sail disappears


We are now poised to take advantage of numerous opportunities, but NYRA cannot prosper without the grassroots support that defines us as an organization. Please help support NYRA with every action possible, even if it seems trivial or insignificant. Every vote in the Facebook contest contributed to our placement in the top 100, every dollar puts us closer to meeting our fundraising goals, and every new member expands NYRA’s grassroots network even further. Happy New Year and let’s hope that 2010 will be a great year for youth rights!