Do we need more special opportunities for particular youth to change the world? In these years of Freechild, we’ve discovered many youth engagement activities are merely opportunities for young people who are already privileged to exercise their privilege. Instead of making more opportunities for engaged youth to become more engaged, the Freechild Institute promotes the idea that we need to create new opportunities for youth engagement throughout our communities.
That’s why when we teach communities about youth engagement today, we say that in order to engage youth, you should start anywhere, go everywhere with every youth and every adult in every community all of the time.
That means that…
- …If you’re a parent at home, watch what your youth are already doing right now, choosing to do again and again and build from that. Support them, help them expand their thinking, work with them to build their skills, and share new ideas about those things your youth are engaged in right now.
- …If you’re a community-based youth worker, find out what issues matter most to the youth you support, and support them in taking action to address those issues instead of making everything focus on your issues that you or your organization have chosen for them to be involved in.
- …Teachers in classrooms can base their curriculum – whether its math or science or reading or public speaking – in the experiences, ideas and knowledges students bring into classrooms right now. Find out what they’re struggling with and make your lessons relevant to them, and move forward by sending them into action to learn from.
…No matter who we are or what we do, we each have an obligation to do what we can with what we have where we’re at right now. That’s what youth engagement is – practical, pragmatic and purposeful action, right now.
Start anywhere, go everywhere with every youth and every adult in every community all of the time. What can you do today?
Special thanks to Friend of Freechild Greg Williamson for inspiring this article!
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Freechild Institute Youth Toolkit
Adult Ally Toolkit
- Are YOU An Adult Ally?
- How Youth Become Adult Allies
- Be An Adult Ally to Youth
- Traits of Adult Allies
- Self-Care for Adult Allies to Youth
- Adult Perspectives of Youth
- Youth/Adult Relationships Spectrum
- Introduction to Youth/Adult Partnerships
- Youth/Adult Partnerships Tip Sheet
- Youth and Adults
- Start Anywhere and Go Everywhere
OTHER TOOLKITS: Facing Adultism | Youth Voice | Youth Engagement | Youth Involvement | Youth Mainstreaming | Youth Action | Youth Rights
Freechild Institute Youth Engagement Toolkit
by Adam F.C. Fletcher
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What Is Youth Engagement?
- What Youth Engagement is Not
- Who is Youth Engagement For?
- What Are Youth Engaged In?
- How to See Youth Engagement
- All Youth Are Already Engaged
- Why Youth Engagement Happens
- Where Youth Engagement Happens
- Recruiting Youth
- How to Engage Youth
- How to Support Youth Engagement
- How to Sustain Youth Engagement
- 111 Ways to Engage Youth
- The Cycle of Engagement
- Barriers to Youth Engagement
- Comprehensive Youth Engagement
- Measure of Intergenerational Community Engagement
- The Future of Youth Engagement
Does your organization or community need support to create, foster, transform, or sustain youth engagement?