Facing Adultism by Adam Fletcher

Order FACING ADULTISM by Freechild founder Adam Fletcher at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1517641233/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1517641233&linkCode=as2&tag=thefreechildp-20&linkId=43XBKODOPHWZ46XW
The cover of Facing Adultism by Adam Fletcher
This is the cover of Facing Adultism by Adam Fletcher (2015).

Discover a grim reality facing all children and youth today called adultism.

Do you feel like society treats young people poorly?

Does youth empowerment appeal to you?

In Facing Adultism, renowned educator Adam Fletcher talks straight about discrimination against young people, and pulls no punches as he lays out the realities of adultism today.

Originally published as Ending Discrimination Against Young People, in this book Fletcher lays out the details of adultism in all of its forms. Showing how adultism affects everyone, he shows the way for anyone who wants to defeat discrimination against young people. In these pages, you’ll learn what adultism is; where adultism happens; and how YOU can make a difference.

It can be rough out there for children and youth, and the ways we’re young shape our whole lives. You don’t have to be blind about adultism anymore, as this book shines the light like no other.

You Might Like…

Order FACING ADULTISM by Freechild founder Adam Fletcher at http://amzn.to/29Rflw2
Order FACING ADULTISM by Freechild founder Adam Fletcher!

Structural Adultism

Freechild Project youth at a summer camp in Seattle

Structural adultism may be apparent in any instance of systemic bias where formalized limitations or demands are placed on people simply because of their young age. These limitations are often reinforced through physical force or police actions.

Adultism informs our society’s conception of adulthood through our cultures, structures, and attitudes.

This is increasingly seen as a form of gerontocracy, explained by James Carville when he wrote,

“This is not class warfare, this is generational warfare. This administration and old wealthy people have declared war on young people. That is the real war that is going on here. And that is the war we’ve got to talk about.”

From every report I have read, structural adultism rages across our communities, and includes banks, courts, police, schools, nonprofits, churches, mosques, synagogues, and all levels of governments. I would summarize the effects of structural adultism as:

  • Compulsory education
  • Access to contraceptives
  • Legalized corporal punishment
  • Curfew laws
  • Anti-youth loitering policies
  • Criminalization and demonization of youth via media
  • Voting age
  • Age of candidacy
  • Access to healthcare
  • Typecasting of youth by police
  • The Draft

Total institutions, which are the organizations in our society which dominate the entire being of a person, include the military, prisons, schools, and hospitals. Young people are affected by total institutions more than any other social group.

Ultimately, the normalization and legitimization of historical, cultural, structural and interpersonal dynamics that routinely advantage adults while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for young people is best summarized as structural adultism.

Related Articles

Elsewhere Online

Order FACING ADULTISM by Freechild founder Adam Fletcher at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1517641233/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1517641233&linkCode=as2&tag=thefreechildp-20&linkId=43XBKODOPHWZ46XW
Order FACING ADULTISM by Freechild founder Adam Fletcher!

Finding Resources to Change the World

Freechild Project youth in a summer camp session

No one wants to meet roadblocks to changing the world, but when we do, we need to know how to overcome them. The tools we need already exist- we just need to find them. Sometimes everything we need is within reach; other times, our friends and family have them. The things we need to change the world are almost always in our communities, even if we can’t see them.

The following questions are designed to help you explore why, what, how, and where you can find the resources you need to change the world. Give careful thought to why and when you need these resources.

WHO needs to be involved?!?

  • Who does our action immediately affect? Who does it indirectly affect?
  • Who else wants to see change in your community? What do they stand for? Who and what do they stand against?
  • What people do we need to take action? Are we the people most affected by the problem? Are we engaging the people most affected? Do we need a small team? A large crowd? Mass mobilization? City-wide action? A national effort? A global movement?
  • What specific jobs can specific people do to get our aims done? Why do we need these jobs done? Background researching, phone calling, web outreach, group meetings.
  • Who can help us?  Friends, people we know, people we don’t know, felllow students, teachers, college professors, parents, community activists?
  • What skills do people in our community have?

WHAT are we trying to accomplish?

  • Have we explored our assumptions?
  • Do we have reasonable, accomplishable goals?
  • Are our goals measurable- can we see the outcomes?

WHEN are we trying to make change happen?

  • Do we have a timeline set?
  • Do we have reasonable expectations?
  • Have we asked people who have done this before?

WHERE are we trying to make change?

  • What is the scope of our action- our neighborhood, city, state, nation, or is it global? Why work beyond our community?
  • Where does our action immediately affect?
  • What are the traditional places in your community to get the resources you need? Schools, churches, businesses, community groups, foundations…
  • What are the nontraditional places in your community to get the resources you need? Family, friends, children, youth, seniors, activist groups..

HOW do we get the job done?!?

  • Do we need to learn more about the issue? Conduct background research? Map our community?
  • What can our culture provide to our action? What customs, language, morals, literature, dance, art, poetry, philosophy, religion, ideals and rituals can help us?
  • What physical materials are needed? Where can we acquire those materials? What are the instruments, tools, machines, clothes, or other things we need? Why do we need them?
  • Do we need space for our work? Can we meet at someone’s house, in our school, at the community center, or in the park?
  • What about money?

5 IMPORTANT Points

  • Before you ask anyone for anything, give careful thought to why and when you need it- your first “ask” might be your only one.
  • Document the reasons you need certain items. This may be useful for future “asks”. It might look like this: “(4) gardening hoes – Two for each community garden plot” or like this: “Conducted a community drive for spray paint for a new youth-created graffiti mural, intended to establish ownership and belonging for youth downtown.”
  • What is the expected outcome if you get what you need? Make sure you let givers know that, as well as the recipients of your intended action.

 

Related Articles

 

Youth and Racism

Freechild Project youth protest in Seattle

Youth and racism are wound together, depending on each other to unravel the pain, hurt and despicable enduring nature of racism. Being “against racism” is to be against any system based on some kind of supremacy, including white supremacy, racial supremacy of any kind, tribal supremacy, class supremacy, even male and female chauvinism. Young people are taking power action against racism and making their communities more powerful, empowering places for all people to live in.

Washing ones hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. — Paulo Freire

 

Ways Youth are Changing the World focusing on Racism

Youth-Led Activism — When adults won’t partner with young people or when young people want to take immediate action without permission, they can lead their own community organizing projects and rallying their peers to create change, or take action on their own. Picketing, sit-ins, boycotts and social media action are just some of the ways youth-led activism can affect racism.

Service Learning — Studying the social effects of racism, young people are building communities through service learning. Programs focused on white privilege, empowering communities of color and more can teach students about racism in distinctly effective ways. When facilitated effectively, service learning encourages students to apply their learning throughout their lives.

Youth and Incarceration — Young people are challenging the school-to-prison pipeline, long-term incarceration, incarcerating youth with adults, and solitary confinement within prisons, all wrapped together with analysis focused on the disproportionate incarceration of people of color. Youth and incarceration shouldn’t be synonymous, and youth can change the world when they focus on ending the racism which makes this happen.

 

The Freechild Project Youth-Driven Programming Guide by Adam Fletcher
Order The Freechild Project Youth-Driven Programming Guide!

 

Things Youth Need to Change the World focusing on Racism

Education — Learning about the history of racism isn’t enough. Young people need to understand their role in white privilege and racism, whether they’re people of color or white. Learning how to see privilege, dismantle white supremacy, overcome structural racism and fight against dominant cultural norms is essential, too.

Youth/Adult Partnerships — Creating intentional relationships designed to foster trust, communication, mutual investment and meaningful involvement can effectively engage youth in changing the world focused on racism. Young people can transform communities and organizations through youth/adult partnerships, increasing effective action and building support along the way.

Opportunities — Young people need substantive opportunities to take action against racism. Schools, neighborhood groups, nonprofits, government agencies and other organizations can create opportunities. Young people can create their own opportunities through youth-led community organizing and youth-led programs, too.

 

Related Articles

 

Elsewhere Online

 

 

SHARE!

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 public health through your community or organization, contact us.

Youth Infusion

Freechild Project youth and adult workshop participants

The term youth infusion was coined by expert and Freechild Project advisor Wendy Lesko, who says the term summarizes “where young people are involved in every conceivable way — as volunteers and paid community organizers, as facilitators and trainers, as conference planners, and as full-fledged members on a board of directors.”

The Freechild Project expands on Wendy’s idea and suggests youth infusion means the absolute and complete integration of youth throughout all of society. It encapsulates the total end of all age-based restrictions against children and youth, instead acknowledging their vast and under-acknowledged contributions and energies as they apply throughout homes, schools, organizations, communities, nations and the world. As youth infusion becomes apparent throughout a society, young people gain the rights to vote, move freely, and partake in the economy. They also gain the responsibilities of paying taxes, engaging civically and building community.

 

Ways Youth can Change the World through Youth Infusion

Youth Mainstreaming — Transforming institutions by engaging young people throughout their functions is a key step towards youth infusion, and is embodied by youth mainstreaming. Professional development, training and programs should reflect this commitment.

Policy-Ins — Changing organizational policies can be harrowing, especially when nonprofits, government agencies and legislative bodies have dozens and hundreds of pages. Policy-ins give youth and adults opportunities to work together to study existing policies, propose changes and work together to infuse youth throughout policies.

Mutual Mentoring — Working together with adults as allies, youth can teach adults and be taught by adults in a mutually-beneficial way. Eliminating the barriers of adultism, youth infusion can be fostered

 

Things Youth Need to Change the World through Youth Infusion

Education — Before young people can effectively become infused throughout the organizations and communities they spend their lives in, they can learn about the vision, mission, goals, functions and outcomes of the places they are at. They can learn about the issues they’re addressing and the most effective actions to take. Perhaps most importantly, they can become more effectively involved throughout the organizations and communities where youth infusion is the goal.

Opportunities — Youth infusion can happen in organizations and communities that create deliberate, intentional and accountable opportunities. Youth/adult partnerships become apparent throughout every step, including transparency, mutual accountability and each of the principles involved. There are also structural and systemic actions taken that foster youth infusion, too.

Champions — Whether they are youth or adults, every organization and community needs a champion for youth infusion. These champions can be the people served, staff, managers, or board directors. Oftentimes, the most effective champions are leaders who believe in youth infusion.

 

Related Articles

 

Elsewhere Online

 

 

SHARE!

Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth infusion in your community or organization, contact us.

Youth + Social Change through Youth-Led Activism 

Freechild Project youth protest in Seattle

An approach that intentionally trains young people in community organizing and advocacy, youth-led activism also assists children and youth in putting these skills to action in order to alter power relations and create meaningful change throughout their communities. Through youth-led organizing, young people can employ activities such as political education and analysis, community research, campaign development, direct action, critical thinking and membership recruitment.

How Youth Youth + Social Change Happens Through Youth-Led Activism

Youth-Led Protests — When young people can’t find adult allies, when the organizations and communities they are part of deny youth voice, and when society doesn’t budge, protest might be the most viable option. Youth-led protests can be the most powerful option children and youth have to transform society. There are countless protest activities, including sit-ins, picketing, #hashtags, walkouts, sit-ins, and more.

Youth-Led Media — Instead of allowing media to paint pictures of youth and their communities however they want to, young people can take up the mantle of journalism and truth-telling to share their own stories. Youth-led media can give children and youth a clear, concise voice to reach beyond their friends into the hearts of communities, cities, nations and the world.

Mutual Mentoring — Sometimes, simply acknowledging an adult as an ally isn’t enough. Mutual mentoring allows children and youth to be in empathetic, appropriately equitable relationships with adults. In these relationships, young people and adults are empowered to teach one another, support each other and build healthy, meaningful opportunities to grow together.

Tools for Youth + Social Change through Youth-Led Activism

Education — Simply becoming engaged in an issue is the first step towards youth-led activism. However, learning about the politics, economics and social effects of issues being protested are key, too. Youth activists can research, study and critique things central to their community organizing efforts.

Training — Learning about issues is not all youth activists need. Training can be essential for youth-led activists to be successful. They can learn the skills needed and tactics that are vital for successful for powerful short-term and long-term campaigns designed to change the world.

Inspiration — The reality of youth activism today is that there is a lot of inspiration. However, finding it can be challenging for children and youth, as few sources are brave enough to share powerful stories of youth changing the world. Youtube, select media, and many other sources may provide important stories youth can relate to. Also, in communities around the world its important to see what’s happened before, and many communities have hidden histories of youth-led activism.


You Might Like…

Videos Elsewhere Online

Publications Elsewhere Online

SHARE!

Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how Freechild Institute can support youth/adult partnerships in your community or organization, contact us.

Youth Involvement

Dozens of decisions are made about the lives of young people everyday. Families, schools, youth programs, city councils, foundations, government agencies, employers, lawmakers… the list is virtually endless. There is an equally endless list of reasons why children and youth need to be meaningfully involved in activities that affect them personally and their communities as a whole. Youth involvement provides opportunities for young people to participate in the activities, projects, programs, organizations, strategies and initiatives throughout society.

“It starts innocently. Casually. You turn up at the annual spring fair full of beans, help with the raffle tickets (because the pretty red-haired music teacher asks you to) and win a bottle of whiskey (all school raffles are fixed), and, before you know where you are, you’re turning up at the weekly school council meetings, organizing concerts, discussing plans for a new music department, donating funds for the rejuvenation of the water fountains—you’re implicated in the school, you’re involved in it. Sooner or later you stop dropping your children at the school gates. You start following them in.” ― Zadie Smith

 

Ways Youth are Changing the World through Youth Involvement

Youth as Decision-Makers — Youth involvement in personal decision-making is an essential skill all young people should learn about and hone throughout their lives. Youth involvement in organizational decision-making and community decision-making is equally important.

Youth/Adult Partnerships — Becoming active, engaged and substantive partners with adults can empower and engage young people like few other activities. Youth/adult partnerships are intentional, responsive and appropriate in every setting.

Youth Mainstreaming — Taking youth involvement to the next level means setting higher expectations, securing deeper commitments and establishing new ground for transformation. This can happen through youth mainstreaming.

 

Tools Youth Need to Change the World through Youth Involvement

Education — Teaching  young people about the structures, activities and actions that make youth involvement effective is important; however, facilitating their understanding about the assumptions, attitudes, beliefs and opinions behind youth involvement matters more.

Opportunities — Young people need authentic, substantive and meaningful opportunities to become involved throughout their lives, communities and the world. Creating these opportunities isn’t rocket science, but isn’t completely obvious, either.

Technology — Youth involvement can be established, promoted, substantiated and transformative through technology. Social media, the Internet, texting and other devices can empower young people to become involved and push for more.

 

Related Articles

 

Elsewhere Online

 

 

Share!

Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth involvement in your community or organization, contact us.

 

 

Youth Participation + Social Change

Youth activism expert Yve Susskind taught Freechild that youth participation was something young people can do on their own. Adults can involve youth, they can engage youth, but they cannot participate youth. Youth participation can happen through sports, schools, faith communities, and throughout communities. It can also happen in homes and among friends. Youth participation can be formal or informal; when its formal, youth may not choose to attend something, but they choose whether to participate. When its informal, youth choose to join in on something.

Ways Youth Can Change the World through Youth Participation

Youth as Recruiters — Young people can be the greatest peer advocates and community builders. Choosing activities and issues they are passionate about gives children and youth immediate investment in a program; allowing them to connect with people they want on board gives them the opportunities they need to influence people. Youth participation in recruiting can lead to the greatest outcomes for every project or program.

Social Media — Using technology they are comfortable with allows children and youth to assume influence, motivate others and propel social movements forward. Social media in all its forms answers this call, giving young people a doorway into participating in vast global conversations, and opening doorways to action offline, too.

Youth Authors — Young people can participate in social change through writing. Whether they are developing ebooks for young audiences online, writing articles in the local newspaper, or using texts to blast out messages to their friends and families, young authors can participate in social change in active, meaningful ways.

Things Youth Need to Change the World through Youth Participation

Opportunities — Often denied access to become meaningful participants in their own lives, children and youth need opportunities to participate. Whether happening at home, in nonprofits or local government, through school or in national organizations, youth participation can require door openings.

Inspiration — The inspiration to become active in their own lives escapes many young people who have been historically denied that right. Inspiring these children and youth can lead to substantive, impacting youth participation throughout communities.

Education — Once youth participation happens, its important to introduce and expand the knowledge, power and abilities of young people. Providing skill-building training and facilitating knowledge-sharing activities are key to improving youth participation.

You Might Like…

Elsewhere Online

  • Youth Participation in Community Planning by Ramona Mullahey, Yve Susskind and Barry Checkoway for the American Planning Association
  • Youth participation” by United Nations Youth
  • Youth Participation Guide: Assessment, Planning, and Implementation” by YouthNet and Family Health International for Advocates for Youth
  • Community Club Toolkit  – Designed for sports clubs, community groups, youth centres or anyone trying to organise community events, sports activities or structured programs for informal groups and young people. A free resource with lots of ‘how to’ hints and useful templates to save your club time when: running meetings; helping club volunteers and members; engaging youth in decision making; membership (succession) planning; and running the day to day jobs within a community committee.

SHARE!

Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth participation in your community or organization, contact us.

Book Reviews

Freechild Institute reviews books related to youth + social change. They are generally for youth activists, adult allies, and about community involvement, young people, promoting social change, changing education, supporting youth rights, and more.

We welcome unsolicited submissions, but can’t guarantee a review. For more information, contact us.

Book Reviews

You Might Like…

Creating Safe and Supportive Youth Voice Environments

The Freechild Project Youth Voice

Creating a safe and supportive environment is essential for engaging Youth Voice in a program, organization, or throughout a community. The environment includeseverything around a young person, including the culture, structures, and climate. The vast majority of programs, organizations or communities that seek to engage Youth Voice are adult-driven, which makes it vital for adults to work with young people to create these environments, rather than assume that they must do all the work.

  • Climate is the way people behave, their attitudes and feelings within a program, organization or throughout a community.
  • Structure includes the responsibilities, systems, authority and relations that allow a program, organization or community to perform its functions.
  • Culture includes the attitudes, values, beliefs, and typical patterns of relationships, behavior, and performance that characterize the program, organization, or community.

Each of these elements alone is interesting and important. However, all of them together form the complete environment. Without paying attention to creating and sustaining these elements intentionally, Youth Voice will not be safe and supported.

 

Elements of Safe and Supportive Youth Voice Environments

Elements to Support Youth Voice by The Freechild Project
Elements to Support Youth Voice include the climate, structure and culture of schools.

The following are essential elements in creating a safe and supportive environment for Youth Voice.

Safe and Supportive Youth Voice Environments Element 1: Climate

  • Adults in believe that engaging Youth Voice in a variety of roles is important and possible.
  • Young people and adults acknowledge their mutual investment, dedication, and benefit, and it is made visible in relationships, practices, policies, and organizational culture.

  • Adults do not talk about youth in the third person or otherwise act as if young people are not present, when in fact they are.
  • Youth Voice is validated and authorized through adults’ regular acknowledgement of their ability to improve programs, organizations and schools.

  • There is a general sentiment among the majority of adults and youth that engaging Youth Voice is a key to success.

 

Safe and Supportive Youth Voice Environments Element 2: Structure

  • The voices, strengths, talents, actions and achievements of young people are continuously focused on in our program, organization or community, and are infused throughout all components of all activities.
  • Important activities focused on young people are done withyoung people, including research, planning, teaching, evaluation, decision-making and advocacy.
  • Before any activities in which they’re engaged young people have opportunities to learn about the issues, agendas, politics and processes they are going to participate in.
  • Programs and organizations have made Youth Voice part of plans, activities and evaluations, and young people have contributed throughout the process.
  • Youth Voice is incorporated into ongoing, sustainable activities throughout the group, organization or community.

  • Youth are encouraged and supported to invite other young people or adult allies to support them.
  • The voices of young people of all ages are engaged throughout the program, organization or community.

 

Safe and Supportive Youth Voice Environments Element 3: Culture

  • Young people feel comfortable asking for clarification of acronyms, definitions, concepts, or asking critical questions about assumptions, activities and other components.
  • Young people are never lectured about their behavior, attitudes, input or other perceptions adults may have of them. Instead, adults and young people are treated as equal partners, each with valuable contributions to make to the program, organization or community.
  • Issues addressed by Youth Voice are not limited to so-called “youth issues”; instead, young people are seen and treated as members of the entire community. “Their” issues are the community’s issues, and the communities issues are theirs.

 

Related Articles

SHARE!

Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can help support youth voice in your community or organization, contact us.