The National Youth Rights Association is youth-led national non-profit organization dedicated to fighting for the civil rights and liberties of young people. The Board of directors is made up of adolescents and adults, with an age span of 14-30. Their intentions are impressive: “In the grand tradition of the civil rights movements in the past, we seek to write a new chapter, and create a world where people are not judged by their birth date, but by the content of their character. Our mission centers on challenging age discrimination against young people, both in law and in attitudes.”
In brief, NYRA believes that the voting age and drinking age should be lowered to a more acceptable age that would treat youth more fairly. NYRA is opposed to age discrimination, juvenile curfew laws, and Gulag schools or behavior modification facilities. The organization believes that such concepts as driving, education, emancipation, entertainment and free speech should be structured to treat youth fairly and not to discriminate against them with prejudice.
This organization lobbies to: lower the curfew age; decrease the legal age to drink, arguing that kids drink anyway; asks that they not be treated as children and tried as adults; and strikes out against behavioral modification institutions.
In response to a findings of a study that concluded drinking alcohol shrinks brain size, the comment was “I don’t think it is going to change [what I do],” said Bryant Kubik, a junior in communications. “As you get older, your brain capacity is going to shrink anyway.”
Aside from the usual reactions of adolescents, the NYRA is an excellent forum for young people to learn citizenship and responsibility. The organization has members in all 50 of the United States, as well as many European countries.
NYRA is committed to accomplishing its agenda.
- In 2008, they ran their first television ad supporting a lower voting age is created by NYRA-Southeast Florida and run on Washington, DC cable.
- In 2007, the group’s executive director, Alex Koroknay-Palicz, was interviewed on CNN’s Situation Room about lowering the drinking age
- In December of 2009, the NYRA won the Chase Community Giving Project. “Winning this $25,000 sends a powerful message that NYRA is a strong, effective, and growing organization committed to including young people in the communities, societies and institutions in which they live.”
The National Youth Rights Association, though it’s media and resource library is extension, has not offered solutions to the issues of youth crime and civil disobedience. They seek to abolish behavioral modification treatments for teens, but have no support groups or alternative therapies in place. The agendas lack responsibility training, and acceptance of consequences.
To date, Missouri does not have a chapter. If you are interested in starting a chapter in St Louis, NYRA will help with their Get Active Locally program. The group offers several downloads to assist teens in starting a local chapter in their school.
Leadership: Teaching Teens Character
Giving Teens Freedom
St Louis Teens in Junior Achievement
St Louis Teens Winning Awards