From Participation to Power: Creating Meaningful Roles for

From Participation to Power: Creating Meaningful Roles for

From Participation to Power: Creating Meaningful Roles for Youth in Organizational and Community Change John Weiss Executive Director Neutral Zone Ben Alfaro Lawanda Bradley Alumnus Neutral Zone Youth Action Coordinator

Oasis Center Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom Gina McGovern Senior Program Manager Forum for Youth Investment Design and Innovation Specialist Center for Youth Program Quality April 19, 2012 #readyby21

Objectives Learn how to help students develop specific 21st Century Skills. Learn practical ways to bring in authentic youth voice and leadership when designing projects and initiatives. Agenda Take a Stand Youth Driven Spaces:

the Neutral Zone Youth Mobilizers: the Oasis Center Core Principles for Engaging Young People in Community Change Applying What Youve Learned Next Steps Take a Stand Where teens lead, create and innovate. THE NEUTRAL ZONE

The Neutral Zone is a diverse, youth-driven teen center dedicated to promoting personal growth through artistic expression, community leadership and the exchange of ideas. Neutral Zone is committed to : Providing high-quality youth-driven activities and programs rooted in a positive youth development approach. To target a diverse teenage audience. To provide teens with 21st century skills. To support authentic adult-youth partnerships, so that

teens can engage in social change, creative expression, community leadership and cultural and educational enrichment. Youth-Driven Practices: @ the Program Level Youth do the following Set Goals & Develop Strategic Plans

Facilitate Meetings Run Dialogues Curate Shows and Performances Promote Events/Projects Recruit and Train Participants Youth-Driven Practices: @ the Organization Level Youth do the following

Establish Norms and Expectations Own the Physical Space Participate in Staff Hiring Approve New Program Initiatives Grant Making Youth-Driven Practices: @ the Governance Level Youth do the following Serve on the Board and Board Committees Partake in Organizational Strategic Planning Support Community Outreach Fundraise Evaluate Programs

Program/Organizational Roles 21st Century Skills Continuum Helping youth grow, thrive, and create positive change. OASIS CENTER Oasis Center has a 41 year history rooted in youth support including positive youth development, crisis management, and youth leadership. In the past 7 years, Oasis Center has broadened its scope to include youth and families from less privileged and culturally diverse backgrounds . As a result, Oasis has created a model of youth

organizing that is consistently transforming to meet the needs of the youth it engages while moving the social-change framework to the forefront of issue-based leadership. Oasis Youth Mobilizers Youth Action in Nashville, TN Oasis Youth Mobilizers are an organized group of diverse high schools students that lend their voice and skills for positive social justice in their community. They

build relationships, help communities identify keys issues and develop action strategies for change, and partner with caring adults to create a just environment for all Youth Mobilizers Current Campaigns Youth are connected to their communities by history, culture, and identity Key Challenges Transient nature of youth

Transportation Structure of American business day prohibits youth involvement, i.e. meetings are usually between 8:00am 3:00pm Base-building Youth Action in Nashville, TN Questions & Answers Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom CORE PRINCIPLES FOR YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

Core Principles for Youth Engagement 1. Design an outreach strategy. 2. Create a home base from which young people can operate. 3. Convey an intentional philosophy of change in which young people are central to success. 4. Identify issues central to and inclusive of young peoples perspectives. 5. Create youth and adult teams. 6. Build youth and adult capacity. 7. Provide individual support. 8. Create opportunities for young peoples sustained access and influence. Applying What Youve Learned Look at the frameworks.

What are some things you already do? Whats a new idea you want to bring back to your agency to wrestle with? What do you do if you dont have direct access to youth? Consider on your own, then share with a partner. Next Steps Youth Engagement Resources from the Forum for Youth Investment Ready by 21 Toolkit on Youth Engagement Teen Advisory Council Guidebook and Youth Work Methods Courses from David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality

Contact presenters Contact Information John Weiss Executive Director Coordinator Neutral Zone Ben Alfaro Alumnus Neutral Zone Lawanda Bradley Youth Action Oasis Center

[email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom Gina McGovern Senior Program Manager Forum for Youth Investment Design and Innovation Specialist Center for Youth Program Quality

[email protected] [email protected] Header Body Text Youth report improvements in relationships with adults and investment in program. Adult support Sense of community Program engagement

Post Pre Youth-adult partnership Youth investment Social exclusion 1 Strongly disagree All significant at p < .05. 2 3 4 5 Strongly agree Youth observe no change or less youth responsibility for organizational management; likely to be greater awareness of possibilities. Activity planning and execution Program design and marketing

Post Pre Organizational policy formation and examination Organizational governance 1 Adapted from Kalamazoo Youth Development Network, 1999. Completely adults 2 Equally

shared 3 4 5 Completely youth Youth report improvement in selfmanagement skills and larger connections. Goal setting Feedback Time management

Problem solving Post Pre Effort Linkages to community Linkages to work and college 1 YES 2.0, Hansen & Larson, 2005, adapted. All significant at p < .05. Strongly disagree

1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5

Strongly agree Youth report improvement in organizational management and team leadership skills. Leadership and responsibility Motivation and management skills Group process skills Post Pre Creative thinking and innovation Organizational skills

Communication skills Media (computer/internet) skills 1 YES 2.0, Hansen & Larson, 2005, adapted. All significant at p < .05. 1.5 Strongly disagree 2 2.5 3

3.5 4 4.5 Strongly agree 5 Youth described many benefits:

Communication skills I'm more organized and more professional when I speak to people, and my actions. You know how you ask a person a question, you expect a certain answer and that, but you may not have asked the question in the right wayso they [give] you a different answer than you was expecting. I learned how to ask the right questions. At first I wanted to be sassy, but then I was like, No. Let your knowledge speak. if the students dont feel that its right, they will address it to the adults and we will actually sit there and compromise and work something out.

Youth described many benefits: Perspective-taking Um, we've learned like tolerance. We've learned what it takes to be better at, not stereotype of things because we get stereotyped. But everybody does it self-consciously, but we've learned how to put ourselves in other people's shoes and see it from their point of view. Confidence to assert ones ideas

It's like seeing that like, like the confidence you gain from, like, being, like, I have a good idea, and it's not just gonna sit there as an idea that'll be like, Oh, well, that's a cute idea and nothing ever came of it. Like, it's, like, knowing how to put your ideas and, like, how to actually make them happen. Youth described many benefits: Management skills Weve also learned how, like as the leaders, to run like a whole meeting before.

Resource development So we're writing new grants. So money definitely kind of plays an issue in it because, you know, we have to have the funds to make this place come alive. Using information to support change efforts (Trying to change a policy) Like some people didn't want it to happen, you knowI guess they were trying to say that it wasn't the biggest problem as it was. Butwe show the biggest problems and stuff that was actually proven, it had statistics, it was really easy.

Youth described many benefits: Skills that will help in the future I think, um, over the past year we've all learned those skills that are not just for [this organization], but they're gonna take us in our life. or when you, uh, actually get out on your own. Not, not only is it good for like resumes and different applications, but, uh, it helps you learn different things and you gain experience throughmore life skills.

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