Adult-Driven Youth Voice

Youth Voice is any expression of any young person anywhere, all the time, about anything. It doesn’t depend on adult approval, it doesn’t need specific spaces or energies, and is always present wherever young people are. The question generally is whether adults want to hear what’s being said. If a young person is talking in front ofContinue reading “Adult-Driven Youth Voice”

My Youth Council Days

In fall of 1992, I was a 17-year-old struggling through high school, living in the hood, and loving the life I lived. It was an exciting time packed with nerve-wracking moments that were smoothed over by a caring family, good mentors, and great friends. I grew up in a predominantly low income, African American neighborhoodContinue reading “My Youth Council Days”

The Future of Youth Engagement

Society evolves. As young people and communities grow, there are more opportunities for youth engagement than ever before – and more opportunities for youth to become disengaged, too. More sophisticated usages of technology, transformed processes, and varying thresholds for what engages young people have to be acknowledged all the time. This happens from generation toContinue reading “The Future of Youth Engagement”

What Is Youth Engagement?

Youth engagement happens when young people have sustained connections anywhere in their life. Youth engagement can happen throughout the lives of children and youth, including within themselves, in the immediate world around them, throughout society in general, and across the entirety of the world. The sustained connections they make can be emotional, psychological, or cognitiveContinue reading “What Is Youth Engagement?”

How Does Youth Engagement Happen?

“Engaged youth” are generally labeled that way because they are experiencing sustained connections in ways that adults approve or acknowledge. These young people are typically identified in places like schools, nonprofit youth programs, and athletic programs. Their engagement is generally awarded by adults with incentives, including good grades, certifications of participation, and varsity letters. “DisengagedContinue reading “How Does Youth Engagement Happen?”

Why Does Youth Engagement Happen?

There are several factors that make youth engagement happen. However, today’s popular forms of youth engagement generally don’t acknowledge those factors. Whether or not a young person is going to become engaged is determined by three things: the social and economic environment  the physical environment, and  the person’s individual characteristics and behaviors  The ways youngContinue reading “Why Does Youth Engagement Happen?”

Where Does Youth Engagement Happen?

Youth engagement happens in a variety of places. Each place where youth engagement happens isn’t necessarily a physical place or a set of activities. Because of this, I call these “Spheres of Youth Engagement.” Youth Engagement can happen within a person, including their emotional, psychological, or physical well-being. In other cases, young people are seenContinue reading “Where Does Youth Engagement Happen?”

What Supports Youth Engagement?

All the individual spheres of youth engagement are parts of a generally unspoken system. This system surrounds all young people from the time they’re born through adulthood, and beyond. A system is “a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole, in particular.” Systems of youth engagement are the broad ways young peopleContinue reading “What Supports Youth Engagement?”

Strategies for Social Change

Following are different strategies I have identified for social change led by and with young people. These strategies can be approached individually, but are often entwined as they show different aspects of social change. Note that these are broad strategic frameworks for understanding social change; they aren’t necessarily specific activities or methodologies. I might exploreContinue reading “Strategies for Social Change”