NJ Division of Civil Rights Opens Applications For Youth Ambassador Program

By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern

SOUTH JERSEY – The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) is encouraging individuals 13 to 19 years of age to apply to the 2023-2024 Youth Ambassador Program. Fifty youth ambassadors passionate about civil rights will work for one academic year, October through June, to eliminate bias and discrimination in New Jersey while receiving mentorship, education, and leadership opportunities. 

In the program, Ambassadors will have civil rights-related conversations, learn to amplify their voice, serve as a community liaison to DCR, and develop an understanding of civil rights when attending bi-monthly, 60-90 minute, Monday evening meetings and workshops held via Zoom. 

The biggest project Ambassadors will endure is the podcast project. Ambassadors are to create a podcast about a topic related to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. A DCR Community Relations Specialist will facilitate program meetings, workshops, and podcast project culmination. 

According to the State of New Jersey Civil Service Commission, The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination “prohibits unlawful employment discrimination based on an individual’s race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex, familial status, marital/civil union status, religion, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for military service, and mental or physical disability.” 

The DCR state agency enforces the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The DCR’s mission is to “prevent, eliminate and remedy discrimination and bias-based harassment in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation throughout New Jersey. 

Ambassadors must apply their learned critical skills throughout the project to create a podcast. In addition to each personal podcast, ambassadors will work in a team to produce a group podcast project and present a final presentation. Working with others aims to teach ambassadors how to work as a group and decide on themes, all while being responsible for an individual podcast episode that is cohesive with the team podcast’s theme. 

By the end of the Program, the DCR says Ambassadors will: gain a foundation understanding of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, develop a strong sense of civic responsibility, awareness of civil rights, and leadership skills, develop an understanding of how to facilitate a discussion, participate in research, and productively work in a team, build confidence and skills to effectively communicate ideas and collaborate with others, and learn about college scholarships, internship opportunities, career development programs, and mentoring opportunities. 

All interested applicants, and their legal guardian, if applicable, must complete this Youth Ambassador Application form. The DCR does not want applicants to miss more than two meetings over the course of the program. There are 17 meetings. 

All applications for the Program are due by Friday, September 15, 2023, and admitted individuals will be notified by Friday, September 22, 2023. The DCR will accept individuals into the Program based upon interest in civil rights, passion for making a positive change on a community level, interest in personal and leadership development, and availability to attend bi-monthly meetings. 

Admitted individuals must participate in and promote DCR’s programs, and parents and legal guardians must stay up to date on the program and its meeting days. The DCR used a centralized communication method where ambassadors and their parents/legal guardians will receive monthly email updates with upcoming events. 

Click here to read about each meeting and what they entail.

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