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Youth Lead the Change

Youth Power + Youth Voice + Youth Vote = Community Change

Youth Lead the Change gives young people power over one million dollars of the city's capital budget. The process is youth led by Boston teens. The YLC process is informed by the Participatory Budgeting Project.

2019-2020 voting results

Parks for All Phase 2: 3,297 Votes

Plant the City: 5,480 Votes (winning project!)

Boston Shelters: 5,476 Votes (winning project!)

Eat Local - Urban Farming: 3,590 Votes

Heat For Success: 4,100 Votes (winning project!)

Total votes: 7625

2019-2020 proposed projects


Creating more accessible parks for all Boston’s youth

Equipping Bostonian playgrounds with accessible and sensory equipment. Renovations would make parks inclusive, usable, and fun for all youth, regardless of physical ability. 


Plant more trees and plants to protect the environment

Invest in planting trees and plants around the City of Boston. Invest in more urbanized areas along main streets and sidewalks to fight climate change. 


Renovating Woods Mullen Shelter 

Invest in the Woods Mullen Shelter by enhancing the physical space to create a more comforting space for those experiencing homelessness. Provide new or updated furniture, facilities, and equipment.


Grow locally sourced fresh food in neighborhoods

Invest in local urban farming in Boston neighborhoods by creating more accessible healthy food options. Target neighborhoods experiencing food deserts by:

  • increasing funding for urban farming development
  • creating more urban farms, and
  • adding or updating urban farming equipment in City-owned vacant lots. 

Update or replace school heating systems for a more productive learning environment

Invest in school heating systems to help students concentrate on their academics success and thrive in winter.

Where does voting happen?

Voting locations

Online voting for Youth Lead the Change is as simple as clicking the button below! Use your power to vote from the comfort of your couch or on the go. 

Vote online

Vote at a location in your community. You'll get the chance to interact with the Youth Lead the Change staff and get more information about the process. Check the list of community locations below to see if there will be voting near you!

December 10, 4 p.m.

BCYF Roslindale Community Center
December 13, 4 p.m.

Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
December 17, 4:30 p.m.

Lena Park CDC
December 18, 5 p.m.

New England Aquarium
December 19, 5 p.m.

Boston Public Health Commission
December 19, 4:30 p.m.

Aashka Dance Company
December 20, 6:30 p.m.

Vote Fest gives youth an opportunity to decide how to spend $1 million of the City’s capital budget. By participating, youth will be able to receive a wide range of benefits from the community. In 2019, we partnered with Boston Public Schools to bring voting to thousands of youths and students.

2019 school partners
  • Adams Elementary School 
  • Boston Collegiate Charter School
  • Boston Latin Academy
  • Boston Latin School
  • Brooke Charter School Mattapan
  • East Boston High School
  • Excel High School
  • King K-8 School
  • McCormack Middle School
  • New Mission High School

Current winners

Plant the City: 5,480 votes

Planting trees and plants around the City of Boston, especially in more urban areas along streets and sidewalks. The goal is to both beautify our City and help fight climate change.

Boston Shelters: 5,476 votes

Investing in the Woods Mullen Shelter, and enhancing the physical space for everyone. This includes new furniture, facilities, and entertainment for those experiencing homelessness. 

Heat for Success: 4,100 votes

Updating and restoring heating systems in schools. The goal is to give students a safe and comfortable learning environment during the winter.

Past winners

Past winners

Installing solar-powered benches that charge phones and devices. These benches would be placed along bus routes with limited or no seating.


Installing new and improved water fountains and replacing old ones in public parks. Fountains will feature water-bottle filling stations to help reduce waste.


Placing trash and recycling bins along streets in areas of need. More trash bins would:

  • prevent littering
  • beautify neighborhoods, and
  • help the environment.
Fans In Schools
Project A  -  858 Votes 

Install fans in schools that lack central air conditioning. This will provide a more comfortable learning environment in the summer.

Add Solar Panels To Buildings
Project B  -  718 Votes 

Place solar panels on City-owned property. It will help save money in the long-term. The City needs to combat climate change and address the fact that we are losing oil and fossil fuel reserves.

Youth Wi-Fi Lounge
Project D  -  812 Votes 

Create an accessible youth Wi-Fi lounge in Boston City Hall for students to:

  • connect with other students
  • work on youth initiatives and projects
  • gain access to City agencies, and
  • apply for youth jobs.
  • Informative homeless resources. A digital billboard displaying resources and job opportunities available to the homeless youth.
  • Performing and visual arts studio.  A space where people of all ages can come together and create all types of art.
  • Future media center. A space that would contain recent technology that would otherwise be unavailable to most students.
  • More trash cans and recycling bins
  • Job and resource finder app
  • Parks are for everyone
  • Wicked Free WiFi 3.0
  • Link Up: digital billboards in schools
  • Sunshine and books
  • Wicked Free Wi-Fi for students
  • Water bottle refill stations
  • Boston Latin Academy gym renovation
  • Hubway expansion
  • New sidewalks for new parks
  • Security cameras at Dr. Loesch Family Park
  • Paris St. extreme makeover
  • Techknowledge - Chromebooks for high schools
  • Franklin Park Playground upgrade
  • Skate park feasibility study
  • Boston art walls

Youth Lead the Change process

The process

Writing the rules is the first step of Youth Lead the Change. This is when we review the guidelines that we put in place last year, and solidify how we want the process to go.

During this phase we:
  • Develop a timeline and workplan for each stage of the process.
  • Assemble a Steering Committee that is representative of the community and includes members from underserved areas.
  • Communicate decision-making roles to the Steering Committee and public.

During this phase, we collect initial ideas for community improvements from Boston residents.

Qualifying projects must:
  • include improvements to physical City of Boston property, like parks, community centers, schools, and libraries
  • benefit the general public, and
  • last at least five years.
Goals of Idea Collection
  • Get participation from as many underrepresented community members as possible. We want to maximize their voices in the process.
  • Educate participants about the program and the ways they can get involved.

Volunteers called Change Agents develop project proposal ideas with youth and City departments. We turn developed project proposals into a ballot for the public to vote on.

Community members ages 12 - 22 vote on the three projects from the ballot that they would like funded. Change Agents tally the votes to find which three projects won overall.

Once the three winning projects have been identified, youth, City departments, and stakeholders work together to put winning projects in place.