Leadership Programs

Mobilizing Young People in High School, College and Beyond


At Next Up, we work to get young people organizing in community for life.

Our four year-round leadership development cohorts – serving Portland metro’s high school aged, college aged, and young adults – meet monthly to ensure that every young person builds the community organizing skills and anti-racist social justice analysis they need to make change in their communities.

We center Black, Indigenous, and people of color young people because we can only authentically address the most pressing issues when engaging those that are most impacted by the problem. These cohorts provide an intentional space for creating transformational, and deep connections amongst young people, while also ensuring every single person is trained with an anti-oppression, anti-racist, and intersectional analysis for systems change. Read more about each opportunity below.

Our Programs
summer fellows

High School Cohort: UPTURN

A free, 6 month direct action training program for high school students in Oregon

We aim to develop and build the skills of BIPOC students interested in learning the basics of social justice, building power in their community, and completing a direct action project with other students. Each month students participate in a monthly workshop, one hands-on activity, and in the end have a culminating project. Through monthly workshops, you will learn: 1) How to tell your story, 2) How to Navigate City, Local and State Government 3) Understanding Oregon's Historical Landscape 4) Power, Privilege and Oppression 5) Direct Action & Cultural Organizing 6) Youth Organizing 101: From Issue Identification to Direct Action 7) Building Power to Win: Understanding Oregon's Issues Panel. You will also be able to build connections with community members, other advocacy organizations, and local leaders.

Now Accepting Applications! Apply to UPTURN here

High School: Youth Action Team

Hands on community organizing for social change

This collective of high school students has consistent meetings and volunteer opportunities to work on issues they care about the most. By engaging in our organizing work, young people are getting hands on experience on making real changes within our community. Currently, students are working on bringing Race Forward conversations to 4 different High Schools, updating the civics education curriculum in Oregon, and making 17 year olds eligible to vote in Primary elections.

College Cohort

Gain firsthand experience with organizing tactics and building people power with other college students

Learn about today's political climate, non-profits in Portland, cultural organizing, activism, and anti-racism work. Gain firsthand experience with organizing tactics and building people power. Have a community and consistent opportunities to plug into two elections! The Oregon primary is May 19, 2020 and the general election is November 2020. Engage students on your own campus to increase voter registration, voter turnout, and civic awareness. Network and build connections with community members, other advocacy organizations, and local leaders.

Community Action Team

Committed young adult volunteers who serve as the backbone of our grassroots organizing

This group meets once a month to help knock doors, call voters, engage in visibility events, organize fundraisers, and develop their own projects. They’ve also helped bring year-round community-centered events on topics like voter education, civic engagement, art and activism, criminal justice reform, and more. If you want an opportunity to learn about political organizing, voter registration, direct action, and event planning, go fill out the volunteer form to join the team.