Community Leadership Seminar

WRI is tapping the resource represented by 5,500 CUNY students who are themselves claimants of public assistance. WRI affords an opportunity for them to study the history of social welfare policy and become equipped as organizers, trainers and agents of empowerment in their own communities and on college campuses. College students participate for academic credit and continue with community organizing internships.

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Public Education & Training

To provide public education about local, state and federal policy debates, build knowledge among those directly affected by welfare legislation, and increase citizen participation in shaping a new welfare reality, WRI student leaders are supported to conduct classroom presentations at Hunter College and on other City University of New York campuses, participate on citywide panels, lead Speak-Outs and testify at public hearings.

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Advocacy Training Mobilization

Special training and entitlements information empower students’ abilities to know and protect their rights and advocate for others. Students accessing WRI legal services are peer supported to shed the stigma of being on welfare, add their articulate voices to the debates, and become informed and practiced organizers. A joint project with CUNY Law School trains law students for advocacy on behalf of students whose education is threatened by workfare.

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Campus & Community Organizing

WRI fosters collaboration among leadership seminar participants and community groups in the development and linking of campus, neighborhood-based, city and statewide welfare advocacy organizations. The aim is to foster leadership (defined as service to the greater good) and facilitate the organization of a visible and effective student movement to support and defend educational access and to work for more just and effective public policy.

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High School Organizing Project

A High School Organizing Project is expanding WRI’s membership constituency to include high school students. The project supports economically disadvantaged youth to become empowered to solve their own problems, help others, and collaborate with WRI campus-based student leaders, community advocates and policy-makers to influence socially constructive policy reforms. WRI prepares college students who come from poverty as trainers and role models for low-income high school students. WRI encourages teenage students to perceive their opportunity to pursue college as a route out of poverty, and to recognize and pursue pathways to community leadership.

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