He’s passionate about social justice activism, and he’s been working to make a difference in his communities since he was eight years old. His name’s Jaden Winn, he’s 16 years old, and he describes himself as a #YouthActivismInfluencer.
Our Founder, Jaden Winn, is working to inspire other young people to get involved, to help address and resolve the issues facing their generation — the climate crisis, the youth homelessness epidemic, and the lack of inclusivity, equity and representation impacting schools, work environments, and communities.
You can read more here about how Jaden found his way to activism and working to make a positive difference in the issues he cares most about, and how it’s been a game changer for him personally in his life.
Now, stepping into his Junior Year in High School, Jaden along with members of the Youth Igniting Change organization, and other ally organizations will continue trailblazing creative strategies to bring greater awareness to some of the most critical social and political issues we’re facing, as well as grassroots solutions to address some of our community’s most urgent challenges and circumstances.
Jaden passionately believes that young people can have a monumental impact on what’s happening in our world today, and that the years leading up to being eligible to vote can be a pivotal time for developing engaged, informed and active citizens.
This is one of the main reasons why Jaden chose to create ‘Youth Igniting Change’. There are so many incredible organizations in our city doing heroic work, but there is no other Portland-based organization whose mission is to inspire, engage, educate, activate, and celebrate the young people in our community who are working together and dedicated to making a positive difference and our world a better place.
By developing an alliance and platform for social change, Youth Igniting Change provides an opportunity for young people to choose an issue or issues that matter to them, join together with and learn from other changemakers to find ways to make a meaningful difference in the things they care about. These experiences provide opportunities for empowerment, team-building, collaboration, creative thinking, confidence-building and leadership training.
Ideally, and at its best, Youth Igniting Change, is an incubator for developing
innovative thinkers, and committed doers, and also a building bridges to
creating a world that is safe, just, healthy and inclusive for all people.
The Youth Igniting Change leadership recognizes that many of the young people in the Portland metro area are growing up with great privilege, with little-to-no awareness or understanding about what it’s like to be excluded, or the inequities of a system that does not represent them. Part of Youth Igniting Changes mission is to create a culture where each member understands that it’s essential to examine their own biases, and explore their own inherent judgements of others.
And that only through our own self-reflection and examination are we able to help be a part of changing the experience of exclusion and the inequities that continue to happen to others in our schools, work places, and our communities.
Jaden’s childhood has been far from ideal. He’s had his own significant challenges to overcome, but one of the core values he was raised with is based on the John F. Kennedy quote, ‘ To those whom much is given, much is expected. And even though there were some really tough times in Jaden’s life growing up, he knew he was loved by his parents, that they believed in him, and what he was capable of — and most of the time, he had the experience of having more than enough.
This meant that from the time Jaden was old enough to understand what the JFK quote meant, he had a lot to be thankful for and understood his responsibility to give forward and help support others who had less.
In a world suffering from a variety of social justice issues, I believe it’s up to my generation to redefine what it means to be an engaged, informed, and caring citizen. An inclusive and equitable community is possible when those with more privilege choose to support those who have more to overcome. – Jaden Winn
BEYOND BEING AN ACTIVIST
Even though Jaden is quite passionate, and can be pretty serious about the social justice activism work he’s involved with, he’s also a young adult with a lot of other interests who enjoys his life and having fun.
When he’s not in a planning meeting for a global climate strike or fundraising for organizations serving Portland’s youth experiencing homelessness, Jaden loves adventures, traveling, being with his friends, learning new things, and spending time with his family.
Jaden is a dancer, and has been dancing at Polaris Dance Theater in Portland since moving to Portland in 2015. He’s been dancing for a total of ten years and currently loves being a part of Polaris’s hip hop dance crew.
He’s also a musician and has also been playing the drums for nearly 10 years, and is currently the lead drummer in his high school jazz band. Mostly recently, Jaden has also picked up the guitar and is starting to teach himself how to play some of his favorite songs.
When Jaden’s at home, he loves to cook for his family and friends. He’s grown up cooking in the kitchen with his mom, and has been inspired by her passion for cooking and sharing meals with friends.
Together, Jaden and his mom love playing with their dog Jaxon Riley, going on adventures to the coast, or taking walks around their neighborhood.
Do you align with Jaden’s vision for working together for a better world? Do you live in Portland, Oregon? Would you like to join with other difference-makers and be part of an alliance that is a #ForceForGood?
grateful to have my SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVISM work and projects featured here:
Kind Words About My Philanthropy Work
- Founder, Advocacy 5
Jaden and his mother, Amanda, contacted Advocacy5 about their '100 Keep Warm Items in 100 Hours' supply drive for the houseless, wondering where these supplies would best serve our homeless population. I sent them to Clackamas Service Center in SE Portland where they distributed their care packages and spent time talking with the homeless community that the center serves on a daily basis. This spontaneous and amazing community outreach project started out as a birthday wish Jaden expressed and became a reality through his caring determination and organization. Imagine what we could all do for our community if we put our minds to it.
- Creator, Intuitive Speaking
Jaden Winn is a bright light for our sometimes dark and challenging times. His wisdom, compassion, and solution-oriented nature is refined beyond his years. Organizations are genius to partner with him, events are lucky to have him, and communities are blessed to experience Jaden's work afoot, inspiring people to come together through collaboration that serves all.
- Student & Alliance Member
Jaden Winn is a strong, intelligent and compassionate youth leader. He inspires you to achieve your goals, listens to your ideas and actively gives you opportunities to step into leadership roles. He encourages you to be brave, take risks, speak up, rise up about injustices and inspires you to realize the incredible power that WE the youth have to change the world.