From the Co-Executive Directors
Becoming a youth-led organization
Youth Rise Texas is proud to announce the appointment of Darriana Donegan and Bria Virgil as Co-Executive Directors!
Bria Virgil & Darriana Donegan
For the past two years, Youth Rise Texas has been transitioning from a single Founding Director to piloting a shared leadership model with Kymberlie Quong-Charles and Roxanne Lawson. We are delighted to embark on this new journey of youth-led shared leadership. This is a tremendous opportunity to realize our vision for youth leadership within our organization. Darriana and Bria bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and commitment to the success of Youth Rise Texas.
YRTX has gained valuable lessons through this transition that will benefit our future, such as learning the importance of investing in building a strong working relationship between the Co-Executive Director team and ensuring a culture fit between staff, Co-Executive Directors, and Board Members.
In preparation for making this announcement public, our team has completed a Narrative Building and Storytelling Workshop facilitated by Fearless Communicators that has provided us with tools to curate strong messaging about this transition.
We recognize that there may be some uncertainty due to this change in leadership; however, we want to assure all supporters of Youth Rise Texas that the organization is invested in maintaining Co-Executive Directors with established visions for youth-leadership and aligned roadmaps for the future. The commitment to promoting leaders from within demonstrates our dedication to creating an environment where young people are given the opportunity to grow and develop their skills.
YRTX’s vision for the upcoming fiscal year includes implementing a Youth Advisory Council that consists of youth who have progressed through our Leadership Development Pipeline and are elected by their peers to serve. The committee will be tasked with keeping the organization accountable to the youth-led vision of YRTX and will guide how governance and decision-making are carried out in programming. A representative from the Youth Advisory Council will hold a voting seat on the Board of Directors.
YRTX’s programmatic vision includes creating a Youth Policy Agenda for legislative session 2025 focused on bodily autonomy, our Liberate/¡Libérate! Campaign, and utilizing restorative justice-based models in schools. Finally, we will train and hire 57 youth members across all programs. Period.
Through these initiatives, we will continue to build power with young people across Texas and advocate for meaningful policy change.
MEET BRIA AND DARRIANA
Darriana Donegan was formerly Senior Director of Healing Justice at Youth Rise Texas, is a 28-year old Black, cisgender woman. Darriana joined Youth Rise Texas in 2018 as a Programs Coordinator and has supported the organization and 10 years of experience as a youth worker and is dedicated to amplifying youth voices.
Bria Virgil, formerly Director of Development and Brand Strategy at Youth Rise Texas, is a 26-year-old Black, cisgender woman native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She relocated to Houston, Texas summer of 2019 and joined Youth Rise Texas in October of 2021 as Foundation Relations Manager.
“We are excited to receive support from foundation partners and are actively participating in Leadership Transition Cohorts and coaching opportunities. Youth Rise Texas is committed to empowering and elevating the leadership of young people and providing resources for Darriana and I to be successful”