How Should We Engage Kids of Privilege?

The Internet, television, the mall… there are so many forces that apparently distract young people in America today. How do we go about engaging young people with access, authority and what seems to be power in creating positive, powerful social change? As I wrote about yesterday all youth need to be actively engaged in thisContinue reading “How Should We Engage Kids of Privilege?”

Why Should We Engage Kids of Privilege?

Why should we try to engage young people who have everything they need already? For a lot of the time I was growing up my family struggled to meet it’s basic needs, and although we usually had food, water, shelter and clothes, there were days and weeks where we went without. As I’m growing olderContinue reading “Why Should We Engage Kids of Privilege?”

Personally Challenging Adultism

What can YOU do to challenge adultism, right now? Here are five ways to start: Talk directly with all children and youth you meet. Listen to what they say, tell them what you think and feel, and focus on respect and trust-building every time you talk with them. Focus on the conversation and don’t be distracted.Continue reading “Personally Challenging Adultism”

*Interdependent* Living Skills

Independent living skills, or ILS, programs are run by nonprofits and government agencies for the purpose of “disadvantaged” youth what they need to know in order to be “successful” adults. Working with foster, homeless, and formally incarcerated youth, these programs focused on teaching young people about finances, the education system, maintaining a household, and other topics adultsContinue reading “*Interdependent* Living Skills”

If They Swallow This…

“If they swallow this… ‘Empowermints’ – The tasty treat with a catchy name but no real content! Give them to your workers in place of raises, benefits, and respect.” Let’s think about the implications of “youth empowerment”, that tired cliche we try to avoid by using phrases like “youth involvement”, “youth voice”, “youth engagement” andContinue reading “If They Swallow This…”

14 Standards for Youth Voice

“Standardization” is a scary word. Community-based youth workers often see it as the bain of the personalized and human effect they have with young people. However, standards can allow programs to aspire to more than the norm, more than intuition. Standards for Youth Voice may allow programs and organizations to: Increase the effectiveness of their YouthContinue reading “14 Standards for Youth Voice”

Youth Development, Youth Service and Youth Rights

Somewhere out there in the Ether there is an tussle among youth workers. In this battle of wills and ego, its youth development versus youth service versus youth rights. I was historically engaged in this discussion; however, over the last few years I’ve come to seen this non-dialogue as passé and even trite. It now seems almostContinue reading “Youth Development, Youth Service and Youth Rights”