Participatory Budgeting Youth Fellowship

The Participatory Budgeting Youth Fellowship (PBYF) builds the leadership skills of young New Yorkers who are committed to lifting up youth voices and leading change. The program offers high school students intensive leadership training, hands-on work experience, and ongoing support to promote greater youth involvement in New York City’s Participatory Budgeting (PB) process, in which City Council members dedicate at least $1 million for local residents as young as eleven to decide how it is spent. Youth Fellows serve as ambassadors and advocates, working to promote PB and engage other youth and underrepresented groups throughout the process. By preparing a growing cadre of young civic change leaders, PBYF aims to make a lasting impact in communities throughout New York City.

I always wanted to be treated based on my knowledge, not my age, and I guess I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. Constituents are calling me and addressing me in a professional manner.

Courtney Aubain

PB Youth Fellow, Pelham Lab School

What is Participatory Budgeting (PB)?

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members decide how to spend part of a public budget. In New York, City Council Members choose to join Participatory Budgeting New York City (PBNYC), giving at least $1 million from their budget for district residents to vote on how it is spent. The year-long process begins with community members discussing local needs and then developing proposals to meet these needs. Proposed projects can include improvements to schools, parks, libraries, public housing, and other public or community spaces. Proposals are shared at public meetings, and then district residents vote on which projects to fund. For more information, click here.

What will you get?

PB Youth Fellows learn about local government, city budgeting, the PB process, and advancing equity so they can effectively serve as advocates for youth and other underrepresented communities, including people of color, immigrants, public housing residents, LGBTQ and differently-abled individuals.

Through training and real-life experiences, PB Youth Fellows will explore various leadership tools and their own leadership styles to effectively engage youth and other underrepresented communities. Youth Fellows will fine-tune their public speaking and communication skills, building the confidence to amplify youth voice in their communities and beyond. By managing projects with their peers and City Council adult partners, Youth Fellows will gain the skills to turn their ideas into action.

Upon graduation from the program, PB Youth Fellows will join a of community Coro alumni from all industries and sectors who are dedicated to supporting one another and improving NYC.

Key Program Features

PB Youth Fellows will be placed at the City Council District Office closest to their home or school and complete 10–15 hours of PB service per month, gaining hands-on experience with outreach, meeting facilitation, voter engagement, and more.

Coro staff will provide Youth Fellows ongoing support, feedback, and guidance to promote their learning, leadership development, and professional growth throughout the program.

Coro prepares youth and adults to work as allies and brings Youth Fellows together with their City Council supervisors for joint training sessions at key points during the year.

Who should apply?

Up to 30 high school students representing New York City’s diverse neighborhoods will be selected to participate in the 2019–20 school year.

  • Attend high school and/or live in a participating City Council District

  • Be entering 11th or 12th grade (10th graders will be considered on a case-by-case basis)

  • Want to strengthen their leadership skills, take risks, and be a community change-maker

  • Be curious and excited about getting more youth involved in PB, city government, and civic engagement

  • Be open to public speaking and making presentations to diverse youth and community members

  • Be able to commit to a rigorous program schedule from July 2019 through May 2020:

+ Three-week Leadership Institute (July 29–August 16)
+ 20 hours of PB service (August 19–August 30)

School Year
+ 10–15 hours of PB service per month
+ Monthly full-day training sessions on Saturdays or non-instructional days

Program Fees are waived due to the generous support of our funders.

Participants will earn a stipend of up to $1,000 for successful completion of program requirements.

Participatory Budgeting is what democracy is all about.

Hon. Corey Johnson

Speaker, New York City Council

Leadership is bigger than one’s age. I can do big things regardless of how old I am. I’ve come up with creative ideas for PB outreach and even conducted my own Neighborhood Assembly meetings. Age is just a number, and as a PBYF Youth Fellow I am able to accomplish great things.

Faith Arthur

PBYF Alumna, George Washington University

To breathe life into this revolution, young people must be involved. That means we have to go to where young people are.

Jacinta Ojevwe

PBYF Alumna, Bronx Health Sciences School

I am happy to support this Fellowship which truly immerses young New Yorkers in a one-of-a-kind experience that will set the foundation for further engagement in government and the public sector.
Ritchie Torres

Coro alumnus and New York City Council Member

My proudest achievement in PBYF has been the feeling of being trusted by community members. When they tell me their needs, I become aware of what’s really happening in my community.

Laura Rendon

PB Youth Fellow, Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School

Our Youth Fellows have been tremendous in helping to elevate youth voice and raising overall youth engagement in Participatory Budgeting. They have taken over major leadership roles in the Neighborhood Assemblies- facilitating small groups full of young people that always had interesting ideas. Additionally, they have been instrumental in spreading the word about PB events and goings-on… They have made Cycle 8 easier, stronger, and more fun for all involved.

Jordan Feiner

Community Liaison District 3, City Council District 3, Speaker Corey Johnson


PBYF is a partnership with the New York City Council and the Participatory Budgeting Project. Funding support has also been provided by Members of the New York City Council, Ford Foundation, Staten Island Foundation, National Grid Foundation and the New York Women’s Foundation.