When young people are completely equitable with adults, they experience a 40/60 split, or 20/80 split, or any other split of rights and responsibilities when it’s deemed appropriate by young people and adults, and not either group alone.
Youth equity allows everyone involved- young people and adults- to be recognized for their impact in the activity, program, organization or movement. Each group also has ownership of all the outcomes, including specific topic areas, youth development goals, and outcomes on communities. Youth equity requires conscious commitment by all participants to overcoming the barriers involved.
Allowing adults and young people to have healthy, whole relationships with each other, youth equity moves everyone forward together through action. These relationships can ultimately lead to creating structures that support differences between and among young people and adults by establishing safe, supportive environments with equity at the center of all activities. In turn, this may lead to recreating the climate and culture of communities, and lead to the greatest efficacy of everyone’s involvement.
Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. ― Benjamin Franklin
What Is Youth Equality With Adults?
When young people are fully equal with adults, they are fully involved in a given activity. In this activity, they experience a 50/50 split of authority, obligation, and commitment. Theoretically, they also receive equal education, equal resources and equal positions, too.
One of the realities of youth equality is that there isn’t recognition for the specific developmental needs of children, youth, or adults. Given the ability to create an equal bar with young people, adults often set that bar at the adults’ level, covertly insisting that children and youth rise to their level instead of vice versa. Without receiving that acknowledgment of their needs, young people may lose interest and become disengaged quickly. This can then allow adults to say, “We treated them equally and they failed; its their fault, not ours.”
However, youth equality with adults can also allow young people to experience full power and authority in relationship to adults. It can also foster the formation of basic youth/adult partnerships and promote rapid awareness building of youth mainstreaming in organizations or communities.
What Is Youth Equity With Adults?
When young people are completely equitable with adults, they may experience full authority with exceptional educational opportunities; phenomenal training with growing activities; or other configurations between children, youth and adults. Youth equity with adults can allow for this to be a 40/60 split, or 20/80 split when it’s deemed appropriate by young people and adults.
Everyone involved — young people and adults — are recognized for their impact in the activity, and each has ownership of the outcomes. Youth/adult equity requires conscious commitment by all participants to overcoming the barriers involved. It positions adults and young people in healthy, whole relationships with each other while moving forward in action.
Ultimately, youth/adult equity can lead to creating structures to support differences by establishing safe, supportive environments for equitable involvement. In turn, this may lead to recreating the climate and culture of communities, and lead to the greatest efficacy of young peoples’ participation.
- Toronto Youth Equity Strategy – Based on the idea that those youth who are most vulnerable to involvement in serious violence and crime do not have equitable access to the comprehensive supports they need to change their lives for the better. The purpose is to address what the City can do to better serve the needs of this specific population, within its authority to plan, manage, deliver, and advocate.
Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth equity in your community or organization, contact us.