Director, Community Organizer, Board Member, and Co-Founder of YAE!
Maggidah Pamela Bea Wilson Vergun, Ph.D., M.P.A. is the director and founder of YAE, a board member, and serves as our lead community organizer.
For over 7 years, Pam Vergun has developed programs that lead the way in involving youth and parents in climate activism. A Climate Reality Mentor, she founded Youth Acting for our Earth (YAE!), with her family; her children, Miko and Isaac, were the first youth leaders. Building upon her experience in program design and evaluation, YAE exemplifies the ability of youth and families to support each other in tacking action and provides the necessary training to get more families involved in the global climate movement.
YAE empowers youth and young adults—ranging from grade 4 through young adults—to teach other youth to speak out on behalf of climate science and justice in free one-day trainings. Parents empower other parents to begin acting to address the crisis together with their children and communities through initial parent meetings and building teams of families who can strengthen each other by having fun and keeping hope alive while addressing the crisis. YAE is designed to provide a consistent and powerful experience across regions that: is easy for communities to get started, can be adapted to fit local circumstances, weaves together people and organizations from many backgrounds, and builds public speaking and other leaderships skills in the youth and adults who participate. YAE trainings have happened in 4 states so far and have reached students in 5 states and 3 countries.
Dr. Vergun brings to her climate work a decade of program assessment and support in education, health care, and other fields, as well as several years spent working with an international nonprofit, Plant for the Planet, as Executive Director, Board Member, and Program Coordinator.
A UCSC alumnae who majored in language studies, Pam went on to receive a Master in Public Administration and International Affairs from Princeton University and a PhD in social psychology/ organizational sociology from Stanford University. Pam trained and was ordained as a Maggidah, a traditional path of teaching and storytelling that draws upon Jewish and other wisdom traditions. Pam is working to fundraise for YAE from a variety of sources and to further refine and seed this community-based youth and parent climate training around the U.S. and beyond, using a permacultural approach to climate activism and organizational development.