Youth Engagement in Youth Empowerment

Youth in Seattle with a Freechild Project summer camp

The Freechild Institute supports real youth empowerment.

Youth empowerment happens when young people get the ability to do something. This can happen through education, activities, positions, or promotions. Youth empowerment happens at home, in schools, at work, and throughout communities. Youth empowerment can literally happen everywhere, anytime, for any reason.

At the Freechild Institute, we believe youth empowerment best occurs when it focuses on young people positively changing their own lives, their families, their communities, and the world. Following are some of the strategies we practice, promote and train for youth empowerment to happen.

Strategies for Youth Empowerment

Youth Empowerment can happen through…

  • Youth Voice: Youth are empowered by sharing their active, distinct, and concentrated ways young people represent themselves throughout society. Learn more here »
  • Popular Education: Youth empowerment happens by engaging young people in education towards the struggle for a just, equitable and democratic society demands alternative approaches to learning and teaching. Learn more here »
  • Youth Participation: Sometimes youth empowerment can happen through the active attendance of young people in any mode throughout their lives or communities. Learn more here »
  • Adultism Awareness: Any action that challenges adult bias throughout society. Learn more here »
  • Youth Involvement: Any deliberate effort that centers on young peoples’ ongoing attendance can be empowering. Learn more here »
  • Youth-Led Activism: Young people taking deliberate, strategic and powerful action to draw attention to issues is empowering. Learn more here »
  • Youth Leadership: The practice of young people exercising authority over themselves or others, both in informal and formal ways, is empowering for youth. Learn more here »
  • Youth/Adult Partnerships: Youth empowerment can happen when young people are fully equal with adults while they’re involved in a given activity. Learn more here »
  • Youth Equity: The pro-active rebalancing of relationships between youth and adults to allow for appropriately empowered roles is empowering. Learn more here »
  • Youth Mainstreaming: A public policy strategy that acknowledges the roles youth can play and the issues affecting them across various sectors can empower youth in new ways. Learn more here »
  • Youth Infusion: Youth empowerment happens through the active, deep, and sustained integration of young people throughout an organization or community’s structure and culture. Learn more here »
  • Youth Organizing: An approach that trains young people in community organizing and advocacy builds youth empowerment. Learn more here »
  • Service Learning: Youth empowerment can happen when youth share meaningful service throughout their communities in order to achieve clearly stated learning goals. Learn more here »
  • Project-Based Learning: Infuses deliberately planned hands-on activities focused on teaching and learning to foster youth empowerment. Learn more here »
  • Experiential Learning: Youth empowerment comes from the process of making meaning from direct experience, which may or may not be planned and does or does not have specific learning goals. Learn more here »
  • Community Youth Development: Combines the developmental instincts of young people as they naturally desire to create change in their surrounding environments by partnering youth and adults to create new opportunities for youth to serve their communities while developing their personal abilities. Learn more here »
  • Youth Social Entrepreneurship: Young people moving passion into action, creating positive action and leading children, youth and communities into changing the world in tangible ways are social entrepreneurs. Learn more here »
  • Activist Learning: Focused solely on social justice and youth empowerment, activist learning moves young people from being passive recipients of adult-driven societies towards becoming active creators of the world they want to live in. Learn more here »

There are many other strategies for youth empowerment that aren’t detailed here. It’s important to remember other considerations about youth empowerment, including which youth need youth empowerment; where youth empowerment happens; and why youth empowerment matters.

Please share any ideas, additions, challenges or other considerations in the comments section!

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