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Youth Engagement Resources

On General Youth Action

    Youth Acts, Community Impacts: Stories of Youth Engagement
    The case studies in this report, documenting efforts in the United States and around the world, all connect the dots between youth action and meaningful community change. The publication begins with reflections on why it is often so difficult, especially in the United States, for young people to find the space needed to make a difference in their communities. It offers eight case studies, along with shorter profiles, of successful efforts that show how and why some youth engagement efforts yield positive community impacts.

    Core Principles for Engaging Young People in Community Change
    Engaging young people as partners in community change is a compelling idea, but translating that idea into effective practice requires focused attention to a range of issues. The important but simple principles described in this paper – which emerged from the commingling of research and practice when the Forum for Youth Investment merged with Community IMPACT! USA – aim to put the idea of youth engagement into practice. They can be implemented in many types of organizations, including schools, youth organizations and community centers that want to strengthen their commitment to youth leadership, and organizations that focus on community change and want to strengthen their commitment to youth involvement.

    Youth Action: Youth Contributing to Communities, Communities supporting Youth
    This report explores the implications of three growing trends: 1) Our understanding of how to best address the problems and needs of youth, 2) interest within the youth field to see youth as change agents, and 3) youth tackling challenges in their communities.

    In an effort to balance the impact on individual youth with the impact on the greater good, the authors propose the benefits of hybrid approaches that focus on the importance of youth involvement. By exploring the commonalities and differences among various strands of youth action programming, this report clarifies the process for engaging young people in meaningful youth action. The authors' assessment of the new opportunities and challenges provides direction for programming, planning, policy and funding flow

In Education Reform

    Youth Action for Educational Change: A Resource Guide
    An annotated resource guide about Youth Action for Educational Change.

    Youth Organizing for Education Change
    Should young people be considered actors in school change, or simply the recipients of changed schools? Growing evidence and our own experience in the field suggest the former. Youth-led efforts to create change in schools, districts and education policy are on the rise. Youth Organizing for Educational Change features brief case studies of seven youth organizing efforts across the United states that we hope will inform, instruct and inspire. They show what can happen when adults create the expectations that young people be both informed educational consumers and engaged changed-makers. As momentum spreads for community leaders to organize for collective impact to improve youth outcomes, it is imperative that we not just invite but expect and support young people’s participation as learners and leaders.

    Youth Engagement in Educational Change: Working Definition and Self-Assessment
    In order to authentically engage in the high school reform process, youth need clear opportunities to share responsibility for their own learning and for school and community reform processes. They also need to connect how and what they learn in school with what they do at home and in the community. This resource, developed with input from the Carnegie Schools for a New Society, defines the multiple levels and multiple strategies for engaging young people in the school change process.

    Creating "Good" Schools: Observation and Discussion Tool
    This tool helps young people and adults develop a common language for talking about how to improve schools. It provides educators, young people, administrators, policymakers, parents, community members and other stakeholders with a common lens for reflecting on their schools and for planning change. It can also be useful in assessing the range of reform models and change strategies underway in a district or school.

In Advocacy

    Building Effective Youth Councils: A Practical Guide to Engaging Youth in Policy Making
    This guide is designed to help states and localities create or strengthen their own youth councils. Its synthesis of theory and practice provides a framework for thinking about youth councils, explaining the principles for youth action and the importance of youth engagement. Advice and lessons are offered by people in the field who have started or currently staff youth councils. The guide incorporates examples from those youth councils to illustrate key points, focusing on councils in Boston, Mass.; Hampton, Va.; and the state of New Mexico.

    Youth Community Mobilizers Share Strategies and Advice about Building Capacity in Under-Resourced Communities
    One weekend in September 2006, two dozen youths and adults convened in Washington, D.C., for a mini-summit to discuss core principles for youth engagement and strategies for building capacity within under-resourced communities. This report summarizes their discussion and conclusions. The participants came from Oasis/Community Impact! in Nashville, Tenn.; Youth in Action and Young Voices in Providence, R.I.; and Austin Voices for Education and Youth in Austin, Texas.

    Creating State and Local Youth Policy Councils Webinar
    This webinar, held in December 2007, offered an opportunity to hear firsthand about how youth from across the country are successfully engaging with policymakers in formal bodies called youth councils. Forum participants discussed the key principles of creating an effective youth council, which are outlined in the guide above, Building Effective Youth Councils.