Youth Advisory Panel and Design Fellowship

What Is The YAP and The YDF?

The YAP (Youth Advisory Panel) and the YDF (Youth Design Fellowship) are Fellowship programs run by BUILD.org. This program is an extension of our entrepreneurial program where we empower youth to be changemakers. Through participating in a multi-week fellowship program, students build their capacity for social and economic mobility while cultivating skills, networking with peers and adults, and engaging in participatory research practices. Youth become co-designers, strategists and thought partners as they propose new ideas for products, program design, and policy agendas.

  • Fellows apply their learning about User Experience and human-centered design thinking to real-world projects aimed at promoting equity and addressing social issues in education and in their community. 

  • Fellows gain valuable experience, build their professional networks, and contribute to meaningful change in their communities. Inviting youth as co-designers helps create more meaningful and effective learning and community initiatives that better serve the needs of all. 

The Youth Advisory Network brings youth voices to center stage in program development and design, strategy development, and education reform efforts. 

Who should launch a Youth Advisory Group?

BUILD believes that engaging with the stakeholders nearest to the issues at hand is a powerful way to build coalitions of change and to make a meaningful impact. That said, we believe that product developers, philanthropists, and funders working in education or youth development programs and similar non-profits or school systems would benefit from Youth Advisory Panel or Youth Design Fellows. 

BUILD has engaged youth around topics

  1. How to make a digital product feel more relevant, engaging, and enticing

  2. How to improve assessments in school – from the framing of an assessment to the outcomes proven and how those are shared with parents

  3. How to ensure that classroom environments follow culturally responsive and sustaining education best practices and principles by uncovering how YOUTH defines those spaces and environments.

Can I launch one?

Sure! BUILD would love to partner with you in this endeavor. If you’d like to discuss this, please reach out to Cindy Pineda at cpineda@build.org. You can also fill out our Partner Readiness form which helps us gauge your interest and capacity for this work. Be on the lookout in Fall 2023 for a toolkit that enables you to launch your own groups using tools and strategies that we find to work. 

Student Perspective on the YAP:

  • 99% approval rating of students that participated in sprints!

  • 91% of students gained academic/ professional skills as a part of the experience

  • 100% of students believed that the insights they shared were heard and valued.

“It made me reflect on my learning and how I was learning. It made me connect with my teachers and have empathy for them.” – YAP Participant

“This sprint definitely made me feel like a valuable contributor because all that we said was being recorded. I know that what we said will be mentioned if not at least once. When we spoke, we were never disregarded but we understood and our info and experience is going to be a part of change for other students.” YAP Participant

“I joined the Youth Design Fellowship because I believe in the power of design to make a positive impact in the world, and I wanted to be part of a community of like-minded individuals working towards that goal. I enjoy the Youth Design Fellowship because it provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with other talented co-design fellows from diverse backgrounds and learn from experienced mentors in the field.” – Yordy

Our Goals for Youth

  1. Youth who are Black, Latinx, and from predominately under-resourced communities are empowered to have a role in shaping decisions that affect them.

  2. Youth see themselves as valuable contributors and enthusiastic learners who make connections between their learning and real life. Youth cultivate leadership skills by engaging in co-design and collaboration.

  3. BUILD enables organizations and institutions within the education and youth development sector to craft strategies genuinely informed by youth insights that prioritize the needs, ideas, and values of students who are Black, Latinx, and from under-resourced communities

  4. BUILD supports partners in prioritizing youth voice in their design, implementation and strategic planning.

Can I help fund this? 

You sure can! Reach out to Ed Wilson at ewilson@build.org to discuss more. 



1. iPhone, iPad, Zoom and Loom are all choices of recording tools for their video presentation 
2. Record with both students and their presentation in view
3. Record horizontally for the best view of the students and their presentation
4. Follow Presentation Diagram to the Right


- Make eye contact with the camera
- Notecards may be used as cue cards
•Pro Tip: Notecards should avoid having a full script
- Even when you are not speaking, don’t forget the camera is still recording!
•Be aware of your body language while you and your business partners are speaking
- Everyone has an opportunity to speak
- Professional dress is encouraged
- Practice makes perfect
•Practice how you will transition from each speaker
•Project your voice when you speak​

Follow positioning format Above

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