Jaden passionately believes that young people can have a monumental impact on what’s happening in our world today, and that it’s each of ours responsibility to find our own personal contribution.
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.