Changing Roles of Young People

Why should only affable white boys get to be seen as theyoung captains of industry? It seems that the story of human existence is one of innovation and transformation. Through epochs everything changes, from the earliest homo erectus though to today, and onward into tomorrow. Despite concentrating on industry, art, technology, and culture as theContinue reading “Changing Roles of Young People”


Eating away at the heart of democracy today, the fear of youth is a force that’s destroying families, community, and society. Known as ephebiphobia, this phenomenon is a wide-spread cultural force that causes adults to scoot away from kids in restaurants, voters to wage campaigns against public schools, and seniors to move away from neighborhoods withContinue reading “Ephebiphobia”

Youth Segregation

Youth segregation rages across western society. Moving young people into full-time schools, part time afterschool programs for children and youth, youth-exclusive work environments, youth-isolated commercial spaces, and excluding them from public, democratic duties and spaces is creating a crisis of purpose, possibilities, and hope in our times, right now. Youth segregation is terrible for ourContinue reading “Youth Segregation”

Are You Tokenizing Youth?

Tokenism happens whenever adults put youth in formal and informal positions without any substance, purpose, or power in order to say they have youth on board. Appointing youth this was is a symbolic gesture towards Youth Voice that is meant to demonstrate youth engagement and appease youth and adult advocates. Its supposed to stop peopleContinue reading “Are You Tokenizing Youth?”

Youth On A Pedestal

There’s a special place where young people are placed in stark contrast to their roles in our daily lives. Typically, young people are segregated from adults, compelled to follow rules and laws they didn’t make, and shown what to do with themselves through advertising, education, family life, and community norms. Nowhere along the way areContinue reading “Youth On A Pedestal”

Tall Pedestals for Old People

There’s a tricky space for adults as we grow up in our community work. Spending all these years working with children and youth, I’m treated with more respect than ever before. Young people quiet when I speak, and older people lean in to listen. My peers recognize the experience I have and the knowledge I’veContinue reading “Tall Pedestals for Old People”

Activity: Examining Quadrants

Students in deliberation in a CommonAction issue analysis activity. Sometimes groups need a concrete method for analyzing the issues they’ve addressed in their goals. Every goal your organization may have has issues embedded in it, both spoken and unspoken. This activity is taken from the SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum. It can be used to peel theContinue reading “Activity: Examining Quadrants”

Youth-Driven Programs Workshop

In 2011, I facilitated a seminar for the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development on Youth-Driven Programming. More than 30 people from across the region attended, including organizational leaders, program directors, AmeriCorps members, and others. Here’s the workshop outline. How to Develop Youth-Driven Programming Outline Section One: The Basics of Youth Driven Programming KeyContinue reading “Youth-Driven Programs Workshop”

Childhood IS Adultism

An image from my notebook to remind me that childhood is a social construct… Are you a teacher? Parent? Youth worker, social worker, child psychologist, toy store owner, afterschool worker, summer camp counselor, playground monitor, pediatric therapist, math tutor, or school principal? If you have any of these titles then you’re adultist practicing adultism. Period.Continue reading “Childhood IS Adultism”