MICE Model: The Measure of Intergenerational Community Engagement

This is the Measure of Intergenerational Community Engagement, or MICE, (c) 2022 Freechild Institute. All rights reserved.

The Measure of Intergenerational Community Engagement, or MICE Model, shows some of the most powerful possibilities for changing the world today. Individuals and organizations can use the MICE Model to start thinking about how youth can be infused throughout communities around the world.

The MICE Model was adapted from the work of Sherry R. Arnstein by Adam F.C. Fletcher for the Freechild Institute. Thanks to Wendy Lesko and Cynthia McDermott for their contributions.

Ways Youth and Adults Are Involved Together

The following descriptions can help you understand the different points throughout the model.

Equity Between Youth and Adults

This is the most ideal position for intergenerational community change to occur because it involves everyone in a community as equitable partners. Instead of simply seeing community as geography, this approach embraces the roots of the word, which comes from the Latin communis, meaning “common, public, shared by all or many.” Age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, language, ethnicity, and other qualities are embraced as strengthening identity that contributes to a larger good, not as segregating differences.  All people experience inclusive, meaningful, empowering participation. Each shares as they are able or desiring according to shared expectations.

Youth Lead Everything

By focusing on the skills and leadership of youth, this approach leverages the power of youth with their ability to affect change across the whole community.  Youth are the impetus and generators of action that reaches to other youth and across all age groups in their communities.

Youth Are Equals With Adults

This approach leverages the skills and leadership of youth with the power of adults in order to benefit the whole community. While youth are recognized as the motivators of community change, adults are involved for their unique experience, talents, and abilities. Each shares 50/50 responsibilities, rights, and reactions to involvement.

Youth Are Consulted

The leadership of adults is predominant, involving youth as input-sharers instead of movement-makers.  Adults infuse the knowledge and ability of youth through action in particular ways in order to inform action.

Youth Are Taught

In this approach adults may listen to youth, or youth may listen to adults, during planning, decision-making, or evaluation.  This one-way flow of information does not nurture cross-accountability between youth and adults. However, it is an introduction to intergenerational community involvement.

Youth Are Assigned

Youth are assigned action by adults. Adults use their authority over youth through class credit, money, or mandates in order to foster community involvement.  Youth influence adults through direct and indirect communication and action. 

The spiral represents the non-linear motion of involvement. A person does not just start in one place and end in another; instead, involvement is a process that continually evolves while hopefully growing larger.  It has been going on a lot longer than the present, and the MICE Model is meant to acknowledge the past.  The spiral also represents the motion of opportunities becoming narrower as fewer people are involved.

The MICE Model can be used for planning, assessment, design and critical reflection. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us »

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