How to See Youth Engagement

Freechild Project youth in São Paulo, Brazil.

Freechild Institute Youth Engagement Toolkit

Today, “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.

“Disengaged youth” are generally young people who aren’t engaged in ways adults have determined are in the best interests of those young people. They can be found in a variety of places that adults don’t approve of or recognize the value.

These include at home playing video games; at after school jobs; at a friend’s house after dropping out of school; or by joining gangs, hanging out with friends on the streets, or playing pickup basketball at night and on the weekends.

However, if we agree that youth engagement is any sustained connection anywhere, anytime for any purpose in their lives, then we have to see that all youth are already engaged in almost every part of their days.

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 cognitive and can happen personally and socially.

Some of the places that young people can be engaged throughout their lives include their homes, schools, sports, and work.

The following chart shows some of the different places youth and young adults can become engaged. What are the percentages of time young people in your community spend in each area?

Places Young People are Already Engaged by Adam Fletcher for The Freechild Project

You Might Like…

Elsewhere Online


Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth engagement in your community or organization, contact us.

The Practice of Youth Engagement by Adam Fletcher!
The Practice of Youth Engagement by Adam Fletcher!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s