Youth as Teachers

Facilitating learning for themselves, other youth, adults, or children, youth can be teachers of small and large groups in all kinds of topics. Youth as teachers can facilitate learning, activities and reflection for their peers, children and adults of all ages on all sorts of topics.

Education is the property of no one. It belongs to the people as a whole. And if education is not given to the people, they will have to take it. — Che Guevara


Ways Youth can Change the World through Teaching

Students Teaching Classes — Facilitating learning for their peers, younger students and adults can be exhilarating, engaging and empowering for youth as teachers and their students. Working with adults as allies, youth as teachers can learn different teaching styles, topics, and expectations for learning, providing learners with diverse opportunities to learn content in dynamic new ways.

Workshop Facilitation — Leading workshops for their communities, in conferences, for organizations and at school can empower youth as teachers to transform the attitudes and cultures of the places they live, learn and grow everyday.

Youth Team Builders — As group facilitators, youth can help teams bond, build their communication and problem solving skills, and develop new approaches to real-world problems they face everyday. Youth team builders can help groups develop new thinking, form stronger bonds and reflect deeply on what affects them most.


Things Youth Need to Change the World through Teaching

Training — Learning how to teach is not a training activity. Instead, its a personal growth and capacity building approach that transforms thinking and actions to improve teaching for both students and instructors. However, classroom management skills, presentation and reflection skills can all be trained and grown through strategy by action. Youth as teachers should learn these skills before and during their teaching experiences.

Reflection — Seriously thinking about what they’ve experienced can be a tool for youth as teachers to become stronger and more effective learners. As teachers, it can drive performance improvement, change expectations for themselves and their learning, and transform their perceptions of classrooms, workshops and other learning spaces forever.

Opportunities — Teaching is not the exclusive purview of adults. Instead, it is a transforming approach to problem identification, learning, problem-solving, and resource sharing. Young people can learn the skills and knowledge necessary to teach others through opportunities designed to challenge their assumptions, increase their abilities and transform learning and teaching.


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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 teaching in your community or organization, contact us.

Youth Engagement through Grantmaking and Philanthropy

Youth in philanthropy identify funding, distribute grants, evaluate effectiveness, and conduct other parts of the process involved in grant-making. When communities create opportunities for youth as grantmakers and youth as philanthropists, they create opportunities for authentic, impassioned and powerful youth voice.

What would the daughters of the rich do with themselves if the poor ceased to exist? — Angela Carter


Ways Youth Engagement Happens through Philanthropy and Grantmaking

Youth on Funding Committees — When young people work with adults to make decisions about funding choices affecting them and their communities, grantmaking can be more effective, engaging and empowering for everyone involved. Youth shouldn’t be limited to making decisions affecting them, either: Fully capable of thinking about the broader world beyond themselves, they should be engaged in funding activities throughout society.

Youth as Fundraisers — Raising funds to support causes they care about can empower and engage young people in countless ways. Teaching community connections, fostering positive perceptions of youth, and establishing meaningful roles for youth in grantmaking can all be outcomes. Adults benefit, too, when they establish trust, reliance and hope in young people.

Evaluating Grant Impacts — Grantmaking and philanthropy should not simply happen in a vacuum. Instead, organizations should assess and evaluate their giving, its impacts and the outcomes. When youth are actively involved as partners in evaluating grantmaking, communities and adults gain powerful allies and investors in today and the future.


Tools for Youth Engagement through Grantmaking and Philanthropy

Training — Learning what grantmaking is, how it happens, who it affects and where it has the most effect is essential to engaging youth as grantmakers. Training young people in the basics of philanthropy and the practice of grantmaking is a beginning; facilitating opportunities for them to critically examine their assumptions, their impacts and the effects of grantmaking can transform participants and the world.

Opportunities — Philanthropy is not a subject that most young people know about or understand, because the vast majority of children and youth are seen as the passive recipients of adult-driven giving and not as potentially active partners. Creating opportunities for youth to become engaged in grantmaking is a key to changing the world today.

Inspiration — Without understanding the democratic necessity and importance of grantmaking, young people can be challenged to find meaning, purpose and passion for philanthropy. Becoming inspired can take a lot of forms; its essential that these aren’t focused on pitiful or event sympathetic feelings. Instead, engaging youth in seeing how they can establish reciprocal, empathetic understandings that move towards solidarity is key.


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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 grantmaking in your community or organization, contact us.

Youth as Planners

When planning programs, operations, activities, and other events and activities, youth can benefit nonprofits, schools, their homes, and any other institution throughout society. Engaging youth as planners can provide resources for youth, adults and others throughout the community. Planning is involved in everything we do. Either we plan our lives and our world, or we let someone else plan our lives and our world for us. The more opportunities young people have to see all the different ways planning happens, the more they can create the future they want for themselves and for the world.

Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning. ― Gloria Steinem


Ways Youth are Changing the World through Planning

Legislative Planning — Before city councils, county committees, state legislatures, provincial parliaments, and federal congresses commence their work on legislation, policies, laws, bills or rules, there are planning processes underway. In this planning, research, decision-making, authorization and other practices happen that can engage as planners youth whose in-depth contributions can alter entire nations.

Students as Curriculum Writers — Working with adult educators as partners, students can research, plan, writer, evaluate, critique, and otherwise plan classroom and / or program curriculum for themselves, their peers, younger students or adults. Their contributions can reflect sincere commitments to learning, teaching and leadership throughout education.

Youth Hiring Staff — Participating in hiring committees can provide young people with powerful experiences in sharing youth voice. The nonprofit and government staff who serve as program leaders, agency staff and other roles affecting young people can learn, grow and transform their practice.


Things Youth Need to Change the World through Planning

Education — Learning the knowledge that’s required to be successful in planning can be enhanced with guidance, lessons, reading and other opportunities, either in classes or solo. The important part of education to build planning abilities is action, and reflection before, during and after.

Opportunities — Having viable, practical options to be engaged in planning can be essential to young people learning meaningful skills, especially for community building.

Internet — Finding information to make critical, informed and necessary decisions throughout life and the community requires access, and the Internet provides it.


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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 planning in your community or organization, contact us.

Youth Engagement through Lobbying

Influencing policy-makers, legislators, politicians, and the people who work for them are among the activities for youth as lobbyists. With their unique insights, passion and wisdom, young people can guide and influence the political process in ways that adults can, helping elected officials and others make informed decisions that benefit everyone affected.

This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.” — Robert Kennedy


Ways for Youth Engagement through Lobbying

Grassroots Political Organizers — When young people organize voters, youth or others to influence politicians or the public, they are acting as grassroots political organizers. Young people can have specific views on politics or politicians, and can share their thoughts and ideas about specific legislation, too.

Youth Lobby Advisors — Working with adult lobbyists, lawyers, accountants and other professionals, youth advisors can motivate, inform, critique, examine and otherwise share their knowledge, ideas, opinions and wisdom about rules, regulations, policies, laws and politics. Informing the process of political development, they can impact the lives of their families, friends, younger people and broader communities in many ways.

Youth Lobbyists — When youth communicate directly with legislators, their employees or any branch of government where they make laws, legislation and other policies, regarding a specific piece of legislation and share their views on that legislation, they are lobbying. Lobbying can allow youth to affect social change on several levels throughout society.


Tools for Youth Engagement through Lobbying

Education — Learning about the political and governmental systems that affect their lives in countless ways every day can be an empowering, engaging thing for young people. Before they can vote, youth can advocate to elected officials about their opinions, share their community concerns and ideas, and otherwise learn to transform politics.

Inspiration — With stories of social change becoming more available through the internet, its important for young people to have inspiration and motivation to take action in politics. Inspiring stories can come from people youth can relate to, including age, gender, socio-economics, education levels, and other identities, as well as people from different perspectives and identities.

Mentors — Youth/adult partnerships focused on political mentoring can build the ability of young people to lobby for themselves while helping adults ensure sustainable support for the issues they care about today and in the future.


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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 lobbying in your community or organization, contact us.

Youth as Recruiters

Youth building excitement, sharing motivation, or otherwise helping their communities or people to get involved, create change, or make all sorts of things happen can happen through youth as recruiters. Engaging youth as recruiters must mean more than simply propping them up for some adult-led, adult-driven activities. Instead, it should be part of a larger process designed to engage youth as partners throughout their communities.


Ways Youth are Changing the World through Recruitment

Youth-Driven Programming — When youth lead entire programs, they’re involved in identifying the issues they care about, planning activities, writing curriculum, facilitating action, evaluating performance, and reflecting on outcomes. Roles for youth as recruiters are part of a the whole program planning process, and provide opportunities for young people to overcome challenges affecting youth programming directly.

Community Organizing — All youth are members of larger communities who should be integrated throughout the lifeblood of the spaces, cultures, and other identities which make up parts of who they are. As recruiters, youth can help organize community members into passionate, concerned collectives focused on empowerment and transformation.

Social Media — Using the powers of social media and the Internet, young people can recruit their friends, families, neighbors and others to take action and make the world a better place.


Things Youth Need to Change the World through Recruitment

Internet — Learning how to engage others, young people can be powerful users of the Internet for recruitment of both young people and adults. As a tool, the Internet can be taught, critiqued and built on by children and youth.

Training — The skills to recruit and sustain other peoples’ engagement is not an innate ability that some youth have and others do not. Instead, recruitment can happen on a spectrum with different learners and different participants, including across cultural, social, age, and other differences.

Education — Learning the purpose of activities, the incentives and distractions, the assumptions and other knowledge about recruitment can be essential for youth.


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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 recruiting in your community or organization, contact us.