In 2002, Multnomah County hired a new youth development coordinator named Josh Todd, and he transformed the entire operation. Over the course of a half-decade, he basically super-charged the county’s youth programs and set them up for the future.
During that time, there were several significant developments. They included:
- Focusing on youth of color and low-income youth to dramatically increase their participation in youth engagement activities throughout the entire county;
- Expanding the Multnomah County Youth Council and including the City of Portland to make the youth commission a joint City-County policy body;
- Creating a two-year, community-wide project that created a Youth Bill of Rights, with more than 4,000 youth involved in the creation and implementation of the final document;
- Securing significant funding from the Youth Innovation Fund of the Kellogg Foundation. They gave the City of Portland and Multnomah County $325,000 over 4-years to support their countywide youth engagement work. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation Youth Innovation Fund supported “diverse groups of young people, working in partnership with community institutions, to create civic innovations that address public issues and problems using a service-learning framework.”
- They trained a lot of people through their program.
According to youth and adults there, the City of Portland and Multnomah County still have issues in their youth development, youth engagement and youth/adult partnership work. However, the work of the Youth Commission has made great strides today and into the future that all communities worldwide can learn from!
You Might Also Like…
- First year report (2006) of the Youth Innovation Fund, including Portland.
- A 2011 Youth Engagement Report from the Portland/Multnomah Youth Commission.
- Multnomah County Youth Commission official website
- City of Portland Children and Youth Bill of Rights official website
- City of Portland Youth Planning Program
- City of Portland Youth Manual (made by youth!)
- Portland Public Schools Student Union
- Youth Empowered Action Camp
Young people around the world are standing against sexual abuse in many ways. They are joining forces for policy change at state and federal levels; educating their peers and adults; and creating new cultures within families, throughout schools and across communities that do not tolerate abuse, victimization or discrimination against children, youth or adults who are sexually abused.
Sexual abuse is an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust. Sexual abuse happens when anyone is forced or tricked into sexual activity by anyone else. Sexual abuse can be physical, visual and verbal. Examples include sexual touching, oral-genital contact, rape, incest, any penetration with objects or body parts, making a child touch someone else’s private parts or play sexual (“pants down”) games, exposing private parts to a child, showing pornography/making child watch sexual acts, taking sexual pictures, watching a child undress or go to the bathroom and obscene/sexual language.
Ways Youth are Changing the World Focusing on Sexual Abuse
Youth as Advocates — Standing up for what they know is right requires youth stand against what they know it wrong. As advocates, youth are making the issue of sexual abuse obvious, apparent and meaningful to policy-makers, law enforcement, the courts, and others everyday. They are letting their stand inform land-lasting conversations and moving essential ideas into the mainstream.
Youth-led Training — By training their peers, younger people and adults, youth are leading the education revolution focused on sexual abuse. They are helping their siblings, parents, and teachers understand youth voice in this area, and moving the agenda forward.
Youth/Adult Partnerships — Forming and sustaining equitable youth/adult partnerships is a vital key for a lot of youth engagement activities focused on ending sexual assault and sexual abuse. Through transparency, mutual respect, trust and constantly meaningful involvement, young people and adults learn to work together to transform the world.
Things Youth Need to Change the World Focusing on Sexual Abuse
Education — Young people want to learn what it takes to successfully challenge and hold back sexual abuse and sexual assault. Through comprehensive sexual education and learning not to assign males roles to assault girls and women, education can change the world.
Research — Substantive research of all sorts can empower youth to take action to against sexual assault and sexual abuse. Learning how to read research, utilize it most effectively and interpret it for others can be essential.
Motivation — Simply changing youth to make a difference isn’t enough. Instead, we’ve found that young people need four pillars to change the world: Policymaking; Targeted educational activities; Substantial assessment, and; Practical culture transformation activities that honor older knowledge and infusing younger innovation.
- “Becoming an agent of social change: A guide for youth activists” by the NSVRC
- “Stop Sexual Assault in Schools Activism Toolkit“
- “Young People and Dating Violence” by Advocates for Youth
- “Student Activists Keep Pressure On Campus Sexual Assault” by Jennifer Ludden for KUOW
- “16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence” by Advocates for Youth
- Peers Building Justice (PBJ) from MESA – Moving To End Sexual Assault
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 ending sexual abuse in your community or organization, contact us.
Youth Summits are opportunities for young people to become engaged in positive, powerful and passionate action to change the world. They create short, safe time and space where youth and their adult allies can learn and grow, share youth voice, and become engaged in what matters most to them. Also called Youth Conferences, Youth Summits should increase the inspiration, education, ability and impact of empowerment-oriented action through youth/adult partnerships.
The Basics of Youth Summits
Youth Summits should…
- Assess youth needs from the perspectives of youth
- Focus on identifying practical, tangible action with immediate, identifiable outcomes that are visible to youth
- Create safe and healthy networking opportunities for youth and adult allies
- Provide opportunities for youth and adult allies to commit to doing something and taking action afterwards
- Create opportunities for youth and adult allies to lead and follow throughout, including developing skills in communication, teamwork, problem-solving and other lifelong areas
- Address adultism directly and deliberately bridge gaps between age and cultural gaps
Benefits of Youth Summits
During and after Youth Summits, young people should…
- Get the chance to meet other youth and adult allies in a specific community or interested in a specific issue area
- Add youth voice to issues affecting entire communities or organizations or fields
- Become active in practical, visible action that can benefit them today and in the future
- Build their knowledge, skills and abilities to make their own ideas and the concerns of their families and communities heard
Tips for Planning Youth Summits
- Develop clear big picture objectives for the Youth Summit
- Identify SMART goals for the Youth Summit that are Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-Sensitive
- This is a group project – delegate as much responsibility as possible to create youth ownership and adult investment
- Develop a clear decision-making process
- Estimate how much planning time is needed, then double it.
- Obligate all partner organizations to commit staff time and name which staff in their organization will become involved
- Hold an orientation for all youth planners to help them understand what kind of commitment is necessary to participate in the Youth Summit
- Help everyone involved, youth and adult allies, understand the Youth Summit requires hard-working volunteers who can be held individually accountability for their roles
- Caution everyone involved against burnout
- Required elements of every Youth Summit include:
- Inspirational and motivational activities
- Interactive activities
- Hands-on, directly applicable learning opportunities
- Social times and non-facilitated spaces
- Food, snacks and drinks
- Action planning opportunities
- Pre-registration is highly recommended
- Make participants feel important and special for attending. You can…
- Limit the number of attendees
- Give special certificates to all attendees
- Send out a press release with participants’ names
- Give t-shirts and other swag to attendees
You Might Like…
- “How to Hold A Youth Summit Planning Guide” by America’s Promise Alliance
- “How to Hold a Youth Summit Planning Guide” by Search Institute
- “Preparing the Next Generation Managing and Presenting a Youth Summit” by the National Park Service
Share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how Freechild Institute can support youth + social change through youth summits in your community or organization, contact us.
Placing youth voice at the center of social change, Youth Forums can provide an engaging, empowering way to develop consensus, discuss issues and build community among youth in a community. As a structured, purposeful event, Youth Forums are meant to give youth an opportunity to express their ideas, opinions, and needs to adults or other youth. Youth Forums can be youth-led or adult-led; because the purpose of Youth Forums is to engage youth voice, young people should be prepared to share it. Rather than all talking, multiple engagement styles should be used. Youth don’t need permission to share youth voice or change the world—Youth Forums just make it easier for them to do both.
Before you launch a Youth Forum, there are many roles to understand.
- What is your objective for hasting a Youth Forum?
- What resources is your organization willing to commit to your Youth Forum, including staff, financial resources and expertise?
- What other organizations are willing or necessary to co-host this Youth Forum?
- What will the follow-up to the Youth Forum be? How will youth continue to be engaged?
- How will youth be involved in planning and facilitating the Youth Forum?
- What experience does your organization have facilitating Youth Forums?
- Do you currently work with youth? Will you need to recruit youth to co-lead the Youth Forum?
- What are the roles of adults in planning and facilitating the Youth Forum?
- How will adults be trained in youth voice?
- When will adults speak up and when will they listen?
- Who decides the topics and breadth of the Youth Forum conversations?
- What committees are needed to implement the Youth Forum?
- Who will direct whom in accomplishing the various activities?
- Where is the central location for your meetings and work?
- How and how often will committees communicate?
- What age group do you want to attend?
- If you want mixed ages to attend…
- How will you ensure the majority of attendees are youth?
- How will you ensure youth are heard foremost at your Youth Forum?
- How will you ensure adults will not sit on the outside and look in, creating uncomfortable fishbowls?
- How many people do you want to attend? Number of youth? Adults?
- How will you recruit and support diverse youth attendance? Where will these youth come from, including geographic areas, different races and gender identities, socio-economic levels, educational attainment and varying leadership tendencies?
- Who will develop the agenda?
- What will the length of the Youth Forum be?
- What is the format for the learning opportunities at the Youth Forum?
- What role will adults play at the Youth Forum? How will they differ from the roles of youth?
- Will there be speakers at the Youth Forum? Who?
- Will there be facilitators? Who? Where will they come from?
- Who will train the youth facilitators and/or the adult facilitators?
- Where and when will the Youth Forum be held?
- Will you provide snacks, drink and/or meals? Where will they come from?
- Will you be doing anything that requires addressing liability issues or have permission slips?
- Will there be a registration fee for the Youth Forum? If so, how will you include youth without money to pay that fee?
- Will there be a pre-registration or on-site registration?
- Will the Youth Forum need its own logo?
- How will you publicize the Youth Forum?
- What media sources need to be contacted?
- What other key contacts need to be made in the community to assist you with publicity?
Evaluation, Celebration and Distribution
- How will the Youth Forum be evaluated?
- If youth evaluators assess the event, who develops the evaluation?
- What kind of response do you want from youth attendees? From adult attendees?
- What kind of response do you want from youth facilitators? From adult facilitators?
- What will make this Youth Forum a success?
- Will another Youth Forum be held in the future?
- How will you keep up the motivation?
- What will you do with the outcomes, both good and challenging?
You Might Like…
- How To Organize a Youth Forum by Jutta Dotterweich for ACT for Youth
- “Youth Hosted Forum Playbook” by Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how Freechild Institute can support youth + social change through Youth Forums in your community or organization, contact us.
A Youth Action Council is a group of young people who develop a group approach using their individual abilities in order to solve serious social issues. In Youth Action Councils, young people develop, implement and evaluate actions through youth/adult partnerships. Youth Action Councils can be hosted by nonprofits, local/state/federal government agencies, school districts, community groups, international NGOs, and other organizations. Member ages, terms, numbers, issues and actions vary according to organizational priorities, youth voice and other factors. Youth Action Councils are the activity that changed everything for youth engagement. Before Youth Action Councils, organizations didn’t imagine what youth could do to change the world; after they started to exist, organizations only wanted to dream bigger.
How to Build Youth + Social Change through Youth Action Councils
Youth as Trainers ― Working together with their communities, Youth Action Councils are teaching adults, other youth, and young children about issues that matter to them. Some of these topics, including sex ed, environmentalism, and racism are at the core of major struggles today, while others are emerging issues.
Youth Grantmaking ― Young people are partnering with foundations and philanthropic organizations, as well as leading their own efforts, to raise funds and support causes that matter to them. This is happening through Youth Action Councils at the community level, nationally, and internationally.
Youth as Policy-Makers ― Youth Action Councils are active on the federal, state or provincial levels, and local levels around the world, making policy, informing elected and appointed officials, and evaluating decision-making that affects rules, guidelines, laws and regulations.
Tools for Youth + Social Change through Youth Action Councils
Motivation ― After years of being routinely disconnected from real activities that change the world, it can be challenging for youth to want to join Youth Action Councils, and when they do join them, it can be hard to feel inspired. Motivation can come through storytelling, action research, and other opportunities.
Training ― Simply being appointed, selected or choosing to be on a Youth Action Council does not make a youth capable of being successful. Careful self- and group assessments should be conducted to learn what skills are present in the group, and what needs introduced and developed.
Opportunities ― When an organization creates a Youth Action Council, it becomes essential to provide real, practical and obvious opportunities for that group to change the world. Developing SMART goals, identifying useful tools and other resources, and having Youth Advisory Councils conduct meaningful evaluations and reflect on their work midcourse and at the end of their projects is essential.
You Might Like…
Share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how Freechild Institute can support a Youth Action Council in your community or organization, contact us.
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…
Cultural adultism is a very ambiguous, yet very prevalent, form of discrimination and intolerance towards youth. It is one of the pillars of adultism that informs our society’s conception of adulthood.
Any restriction or exploitation of people because of their young age, as opposed to their ability, comprehension, or capacity, may be said to be adultist. These restrictions are often attributed to “better judgment”, the “wisdom of age”, or other popular age-related euphemism that is afforded to adults simply because of their age. Examples of where this plays out include:
- Portrayal of youth as apathetic by media
- Anti-youth store rules
- Child abuse
- Academic misconceptions of youth, supported by bad research
- Ongoing commericalization of the culture young people partake in
- Online filters
- Corporal punishment
- Child labor
- Mass marketing of pre-packaged youth culture to youth and adults
- Peer pressure
- Child prostitution
- Fashion controversies
- Political and sociological scapegoating of youth
- Stereotypes about youth subcultures
- Teen sex
Causes of Cultural Adultism
Adultism is bias towards adults. Bias towards adults happens anytime the opinions, ideas, knowledge, beliefs, abilities, attitudes, or cultures of adults are held above those of people who aren’t considered adults because they’re not considered adults. Because of this, our very conception of childhood itself is adultism at work. Anyone who works professionally or lives in society with young people as an adult is inherently adultist.
Our adultist attitudes are primarily demonstrated as discrimination against children and youth. This comes across in our national, state, and local laws; educational, health, nutritional, and social policies; family norms; religious and spiritual beliefs; and social customs. Everything from the height of dinner tables to compulsory education passively and actively reflects adultism. Seeking to make the world into our vision of things, adults invented the phenomenon of childhood to ensure that kids were comprehensible and controllable. Because of that, the status of children has become passive, static, and predictable.
Does that make adults wrong or bad? Not all the time and not everywhere. There are times when, as an adult, I am discriminated against. Legally, I cannot go into a hospital and operate on someone, nor can I drive an 18-wheel semi-truck. Culturally, it is inappropriate for me to use a women’s changing room at a store or attend a self-help group for narcotics. None of those examples are inherently bad or wrong. They are intended to keep myself or others safe. Its the same with much well-meaning adultism that is intended to keep young people or others safe. If a building is burning down, as an adult I feel its my responsibility to grab everyone and make sure they’re out of the building, regardless of age.
However, in our society adults always act like the building is burning down. That’s what must change. People who want to change the miserable state of affairs facing the world must take action to stop adultism now. We must challenge the ineptitude of adults and their intransigence towards the changing abilities and roles of young people throughout society. We must push back against age-based assumptions that have nothing to do with the capacity of young people.
- Introduction to Adultism
- Internalized Adultism
- Institutional Adultism
- Defeating Adultism
- Facing Adultism
- “Adults Just Don’t Understand: Checking Out Our Everyday Adultism” by Kel Krey for everyday feminism
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.
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.
- Introduction to Adultism
- Internalized Adultism
- Cultural Adultism
- Institutional Adultism
- Facing Adultism
- “Adults Just Don’t Understand: Checking Out Our Everyday Adultism” by Kel Krey for everyday feminism
The Freechild Project focuses on youth changing the world. Our theory of change focuses on youth engagement throughout the world around them, in meaningful, empowering relationships that bring about social change. By becoming connected with organizations committed to social change, young people acknowledge their interdependence and build their communities.
In assessing moral issues, interdependence shows us that we cannot isolate ourselves from the harmful or criminal act of ‘another,’ we cannot pretend the criminal or the pirate is bad and I am good, because all of us are to some extent responsible for this state of affairs. – Thich Nhat Hanh
The following list of organizations has been compiled to provide a broad array of opportunities for young people and their adult allies to join together in large movements for social change, affecting individuals, communities, and the world.
Adbusters Media Foundation — Adbusters describes itself as “a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age.” Adbusters publishes a glossy, provocative magazine of the same name, sponsors Buy Nothing Day and TV Turnoff Week, produces clever “uncommercials” and seeks to agitate so that folks “get mad about corporate disinformation, injustices in the global economy, and any industry that pollutes our physical or mental commons.”
AFL-CIO — The AFL-CIO is the largest labor organization in the United States. Its website includes abundant information on organizing campaigns, links to member unions, news articles on union drives, updates on student activism, and sections on union culture and history.
American Friends Service Committee — This venerable social justice organization has a Mexico-U.S. Border Program and publishes an assortment of resources. AFSC also has a Youth and Militarism project that organizes against JROTC and military presence in public schools. The Cambridge, Massachusetts AFSC publishes Peacework, a monthly journal serving movements for nonviolent social change. AFSC also maintains a film and video library.
Amnesty International USA — AI seeks to promote the human rights included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, focusing especially on prisoners of conscience, ending the death penalty, and combating torture. Amnesty’s website includes the complete text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as numerous links to human rights groups around the world, articles, video clips, reports, and action opportunities.
Catholic Worker Movement — The Catholic Worker Movement is “grounded in a firm belief in the God-given dignity of every human person.” Since its founding in 1933 they have protested war, violence and injustice in all forms. Its journal is The Catholic Worker.
Changemakers.net — A monthly journal of stories about system-changing, problem-solving initiatives undertaken by social entrepreneurs from around the world.
Clean Clothes Campaign — A coalition of European groups aiming to improve working conditions in the global garment industry. Conducts campaigns and provides information on companies such as Adidas, Benneton, C & A, Disney, Phillips-Van Heusen, Gap, H & M, Levi-Strauss, Nike, and Otto.
Green America — Valuable information on sweatshops, consumer boycotts, and strategies to use “consumer and investor power for social change.” Co-op America is a national nonprofit organization that helps individuals find businesses that are environmentally responsible and engage in fair trade, and offers technical assistance to companies aiming for social and environmental responsibility.
The Council of Canadians — This independent organization provides analyses on key issues from a critical and progressive standpoint. Its director, Maude Barlow, is perhaps the leading critic of schemes to privatize the world’s freshwater supplies.
CorpWatch — Indispensable resources and news about globalization and justice struggles around the world. An online issue library includes topics such as biotechnology, Globalization 101, grassroots globalization, sweatshops, the WTO and the IMF/World Bank. Very extensive links. A similarly valuable but unrelated site is Corporate Watch.
Cultural Survival — Cultural Survival sponsors basic research on indigenous peoples, particularly examining the effects of “development.” The results of this research are published in its Cultural Survival Quarterly. The website includes an education archive with curriculum resources offered, including Rainforest Peoples and Places (grades 6-9), The Chiapas Maya (grades 6-12) and the Rights of Indigenous Nations.
The David Suzuki Foundation — David Suzuki is one of the world’s leading geneticists and environmentalists. The foundation is especially active in the area of climate change, focusing on the “urgent need for practical strategies to reduce global warming caused by human activities.”
Focus on the Global South — Too often discussions of globalization are dominated by those of us in the North, however well-intended or well-informed we may be. Focus on the Global South’s website features wonderful, hard-to-find, in-depth articles from the perspective of activists and scholars in the global South ÷ the so-called Third World. See their “publications” section.
Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy — Food First describes itself as “a peoples think tank and education-for-action center.” Over the 25-plus years that this pioneering organization has been around, it has published some of the most useful books on food and hunger issues. Through its publications and activism, it continues to offer leadership to the struggle for reforming the global food system from the bottom up. The catalog is online at their website.
Friends of the Earth — Friends of the Earth is a national environmental organization dedicated to preserving the health and diversity of the planet. FOE distributes valuable publications ranging from books on global warming to the IMF’s effects on the environment.
Global Exchange — Founded in 1988, Global Exchange is an organization dedicated to promoting environmental, political, and social justice around the world. In the late Î90s, Global Exchange was perhaps the most important organization drawing attention to Nike’s sweatshop abuses. Their expansive website gives a flavor for the diversity of activities they have initiated, which include “people to people” projects, such as “reality tours” to Third World countries, managing “fair trade” stores, and publishing resources on global justice issues. Global Exchange is one of the key global justice organizations.
Greenpeace International / Greenpeace USA — Greenpeace began in 1971 when activists went to “bear witness” to nuclear weapons testing planned for Amchitka island, off Alaska. Today Greenpeace is one of the leading organizations using nonviolent direct action to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to what the organization hopes will be a “green and peaceful future.” It sponsors campaigns on global warming, environmental toxics, destructive fishing, genetic engineering, nuclear power and weapons, and saving ancient forests. Both websites feature extensive background materials on these issues, action alerts, ways to get involved, and numerous links to other organizations.
The Independent Media Center — This is the CNN of the global social justice movement and a wonderful resource. The Center acts as a clearinghouse of information and provides up-to-theminute reports, photos, audio, and video footage of global social justice struggles through its website. Launched during the Seattle WTO protests of late 1999, Indymedia is a fascinating, colorful site. Updated regularly. Great graphics.
The Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism — The IPCB is organized to assist indigenous peoples in the protection of their genetic resources, indigenous knowledge, and cultural and human rights from the negative effects of biotechnology.
Corporate Accountability International — A non-partisan national grassroots organization whose purpose is to stop life-threatening abuses by transnational corporations. Articles posted on their website, like “The Marlboro Man Goes Overseas,” could be used with students.
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy — The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, and advocacy. Their website includes background readings, articles, and forums on vital issues of agriculture and trade.
Institute for Global Communications (IGC) — “The mission of IGC is to advance the work of progressive organizations and individuals for peace, justice, economic opportunity, human rights, democracy and environmental sustainability through strategic use of online technologies.” IGC is an outstanding resource, with a fabulous search engine that is linked to social justice networks of all kinds.
Institute for Policy Studies — An important think tank on global issues from a social justice perspective. IPS has programs on Peace and Security, the Global Economy, and Paths for the 21st Century, supplemented by several projects that address specific issues.
International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) — iEARN is a nonprofit organization made up of almost 4,000 schools in over 90 countries. It aims to empower teachers and young people (K-12) to work together online at low cost through a global telecommunications network.
International Rivers Network — IRN is an important network that works to support communities around the world struggling to protect rivers and watersheds. They see this work as part of a movement for “environmental integrity, social justice and human rights.” IRN’s website is a valuable source of information about global water struggles.
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility — A coalition of 275 Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish institutional investors that organizes corporate campaigns to press companies to be socially and environmentally responsible. Publishes the newsletter, The Corporate Examiner.
International Forum on Globalization — Begun as an alliance of over 60 scholars, activists and writers, the IFG has sponsored important conferences to evaluate the social and environmental impact of globalization. They have published numerous booklets. Their website features worthwhile resources on the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, among others.
International Labor Organization — The ILO is the UN agency that promotes internationally recognized human and labor rights. The organization maintains a searchable website on labor issues of all kinds, such as child labor, and includes useful articles, links, and reports.
International Labor Rights Forum — The ILRF is a nonprofit organization that takes action on behalf of working people, and creates innovative programs and enforcement mechanisms to protect workers’ rights. Current campaigns include child labor, monitoring labor rights in China, sweatshops, forced labor in Burma, and examining IMF/World Bank practices. Provides detailed information on the effects of NAFTA.
Jobs With Justice — A national campaign, with local affiliates, to organize support for workers’ rights struggles. JwJ’s Student Labor Action Project is an initiative focused on supporting student activism around issues of workers’ rights as well as social and economic justice. Extensive information on current campaigns at their website.
MADRE — An international women’s human rights organization that works in partnership with women’s community-based groups in conflict areas worldwide. Our programs address issues of sustainable development, community improvement and women’s health; violence and war; discrimination and racism; self-determination and collective rights; women’s leadership development; and human rights education. MADRE provides resources and training to enable our sister organizations to meet immediate needs in their communities and develop long-term solutions to the crises they face.
Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network — A volunteer network of occupational health and safety professionals providing information, technical assistance and on-site instruction regarding workplace hazards in the over 3,800 “maquiladora” (foreign-owned export-oriented assembly plants) along the U.S.-Mexico border. Their website includes excellent resources and links on maquiladora health and safety issues.
National Labor Committee — NLC’s goal is to “end labor and human rights violations, ensure a living wage tied to a basket of needs, and help workers and their families live and work with dignity” ÷ through education and activism. The organization, under director Charles Kernaghan, has been one of the most effective groups in raising awareness about super-exploitation and horrific conditions in global sweatshops. The National Labor Committee is the producer of some valuable videos and reports on sweatshop and labor rights issues around the world (see, for example, the videos Zoned for Slavery and Mickey Mouse Goes to Haiti).
Teaching for Change — Teaching for Change publishes excellent multicultural, global justice teaching materials, such as the Caribbean Connection series and the widely used Beyond Heroes and Holidays. The Teaching for Change catalog is the single best source for resources to rethink and teach about globalization.
One World International — One World is “a community of organizations working from a range of perspectives and backgrounds to promote sustainable development and human rights.” Described as the “global supersite on sustainable development and human rights,” this is truly an amazing website, filled with photo galleries, news, special country reports, campaigns, and the like.
Oxfam America — Oxfam America is dedicated to creating lasting solutions to hunger, poverty, and social injustice through long-term partnerships with poor communities around the world. Their website features lots of educational materials and links to other global education sites.
Prison Activist Resource Center — The source for progressive and radical info on prisons and the criminal prosecution system.
Rainforest Action Network — RAN works to protect the earth’s rainforests and support the rights of their inhabitants through education, grassroots organizing, and nonviolent direct action. Theirs is a must-visit, comprehensive website that includes a wealth of information, including ideas for activities and activism with students, classroom-friendly fact sheets, and links to indigenous rainforest groups. RAN has a Beyond Oil Campaign that should be of interest to students who are responsive to activities in Rethinking Globalization’s chapter on consumption and the environment.
Resource Center of the Americas — The Resource Center provides information and develops programs that demonstrate connections between people of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. Over the years they have published a great deal of curriculum in this area. Their website includes an on-line catalog of these and other classroom materials, along with resources on critical issues about the Americas.
Rethinking Schools — Its quarterly journal, Rethinking Schools, is produced largely by classroom teachers with a focus on social justice and equity. The website contains this entire resource list with all website addresses hot-linked, so all you need to do is click on them and you are taken to each site. The Rethinking Schools website also features a number of additional articles on teaching about globalization, including further resources and lesson plans that are mentioned in this book. Rethinking Schools publishes Rethinking Columbus and Rethinking Our Classrooms, volumes 1 and 2.
Schools for Chiapas — An organization working in solidarity with the struggles in Chiapas, Mexico. Mobilizes people and resources to build schools in Chiapas. The organization also sponsors trips to study Spanish and Mayan language and culture in Chiapas. The website features news articles, historical information and other resources.
TransAfrica Forum — TransAfrica Forum provides commentary and scholarship on policy issues related to Africa and the Caribbean. The organization seeks to educate Americans in general, and African Americans in particular, on human rights and global economic policy. Reports on TransAfrica’s website deal with issues such as the Sub-Saharan Africa debt burden, the impact of tourism in the Caribbean, and landmines.
UNITE (Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) — UNITE was formed by the merger of two of the nation’s oldest unions, the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU). UNITE’s website offers information on campaigns against sweatshops, as well as government and organizational links.
United Farm Workers — Affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the UFW is the oldest and most prominent farm worker union in the United States. Their website includes links, current news articles, updates, and background white papers, such as “Fingers to the Bone: United States Failure to Protect Child Farm Workers,” “Fields of Poisons: California Farm Workers and Pesticides,” “Five Cents for Fairness: The Case for Change in the Strawberry Fields,” “Trouble on the Farm: Growing Up With Pesticides in Agricultural Communities,” and “Pesticides in Our Food and Water.”
UNICEF – United Nations Children’s Fund — UNICEF produces educational materials and distributes funds to children’s programs throughout the world. Their annual The State of the World’s Children provides useful statistics.
Many well-meaning adults who advocate for youth engagement too often consider only those elements of the younger population with which they are familiar. This is comfortable and convenient for adults, but it doesn’t fully address realities regarding young people today.
Identifying aspects of youth engagement as convenient or inconvenient doesn’t convey a value judgment; it simply acknowledges an existing condition.
Convenient Youth Engagement happens whenever adults know who is going to be engaged, what is going to happen, where and when it will happen, and what the outcomes will be. Adults might not have written the whole script for youth engagement, but what’s going to be said is no surprise to them.
Inconvenient Youth Engagement takes place when young people become engaged in ways that aren’t predictable. They share ideas, shout out thoughts, take action or critique harshly. They do things that adults don’t know, understand, approve of or otherwise predict.
The difference between these two situations depends on context, including location, position and circumstance. A young person’s race, socio-economic status, gender, educational attainment or other characteristics frequently determines how engagement is perceived. A particular instance of youth engagement may be heard or ignored, approved or disapproved, praised or penalized by older adults.
- Youth/Adult Partnerships
- Youth and Adults
- Youth, Parents, Parenting and Families
- Facing Adultism by Adam Fletcher
Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can help improve adult perceptions of youth in your community or organization, contact us.