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Adam Fletcher's Cycle of Youth Engagement

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  • 1. Explore the Cycle of Youth Voice By Adam FletcherThe Cycle of Engagement is designed to illustrate a clear process everyone can use toengage young people throughout our communities. The most important tip here is toconsider Youth Voice as more than simply hearing, checking-in, or talking to young people.Youth Voice is action, and action fosters engagement. However, its not only action; itslearning about and from action, too. Learn about the different parts of the Cycle ofEngagement below. Figure A: Cycle of EngagementListen to Youth Voice • Listening is where Youth Voice starts - "Speak by listening." • young people should have an actively engaged audience of one or more to listen to their ideas, opinions, experiences, knowledge, and/or actions. • Listening is just the first step; Youth Voice requires more.Validate Youth Voice • Masking or withholding true responses to Youth Voice does nobody favors. • Adults should honestly respond to what young people say or do by honestly. • Validation can mean disagreement, or agreement, or questioning - but it means responding.Authorize Youth Voice • Authority can be intimidating for young people as well as adults. • Without authority, Youth Voice can be a hollow cry in a loud argument.
  • 2. • Authority can mean building the skills, positioning young people or otherwise giving young people the abilities they need to "author" their own stories.Act on Youth Voice • Taking action for Youth Voice requires children, youth, and adults working together to make the space, place, and ability for young people to create change. • Action can – and should - look different everywhere. • Action is usually seen as the most important step. However, this makes positive outcomes the most important thing. Unfortunately, for many issues, positive outcomes rarely come, or if they do, not for the current generation of youth involved.Reflect on Youth Voice • Reflection may be the most important ongoing step to engaging children and youth. • Reflection activities used should be appropriate for diverse learners. • Reflections should be incorporated into the next listening activity.© 2009. Adam Fletcher owns the copyright for this material on behalf of The Freechild Project. You are welcome to print out this material for educational purposes only - you cannot make any financial gain from them without theexplicit permission of the author. You may not photocopy any part of this material without explicit permission of the author. For more information write info [at] freechild.org
  • 3. Youth Voice Resources By Adam FletcherOrganizations/WebsitesThe Freechild Project - www.freechild.org Seeks to connect young people to socialchange efforts around the world. Freechild highlights thousands of organizations,publications, websites, and resources from hundreds of topic areas focused on youthinvolvement. Provides training for youth workers, government officials, children and youth.PO Box 6185, Olympia, WA 98507. info at freechild.org (360)489-9680.SoundOut - www.soundout.org Promotes student voice in schools through an onlineportal that provides examples, research, publications, discussion forums, and organizationsto students, educators, and others. Provides professional development for educators andtraining for students. A sister program of The Freechild Project. PO Box 6185, Olympia, WA98507. (360)489-9680.Building Leadership Organizing Communities (BLOC) - www.mybloc.net BLOC is anational network of young people working in communities of color to build alliances andfundamentally transform society. BLOC is about building community where you live. We willhelp you connect to people in your local community and then from there, people in yourregion, your state and across the country. (877) 888-2562.Do Something - www.dosomething.org Seeks to inspire, award, and celebrate the workof young people to change their world through an interactive website, community training,classroom curricula, and monetary prizes. 423 West 55th St, 8th Fl, New York, NY 10019.(212) 523-1175.Future 5000 - www.future5000.org Future 5000 is a directory of progressive youthorganizations across the US. Future 5000 is the virtual spinal cord of todays youthmovement, both a historical document of our movement and a tool to keep it growing in aconnected way. 369 15th St, Oakland, CA 94612. (510) 763-7078.Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development -www.theinnovationcenter.org Partners with foundations, organizations, youth, andadults to spark creative processes, build on existing assets and resources, and generatepractical tools and resources. 6930 Carroll Avenue, Ste 502, Takoma Park, MD 20912. (301)270-1700.Youth Activism Project - www.youthactivism.com Encourages young people to movetheir ideas into action by advocating before school boards, city council and in other publicpolicy arenas. Offers books, training and other resources as well as free materials andtechnical assistance for youth-led adult-supported community change. PO Box E,Kensington, MD 20895 (800) KID-POWER.Youth On Board - www.youthonboard.org Prepares youth to be leaders and decisionmakers in their communities and strengthens relationships between youth and adults. 58Day Street Somerville, MA 02144. (617) 623-9900x1242.Youth Venture - www.genv.net Strives to reach and support any young personnationwide who has a dream about how to make a difference, and the commitment to makeit happen. 1700 N. Moore Street, Ste 2000, Arlington, VA 22209. (703) 527-4126 x 316.
  • 4. Publications15 Points to Successfully Involving Youth in Decision-Making by Youth On Board.Covering the essential elements of successful project planning, this manual provides stories,hints, and tools to make your project successful. Adam Fletcher contributed to the mostrecent revision. Order it from www.youthonboard.orgAdults as Allies by Barry Checkoway. This publication increases the awareness of the roleof adults in youth involvement by posing questions, offering activities, and providing storiesthat highlight effective intergenerational interaction. Download atwww.wkkf.org/pubs/YouthED/Pub564.pdfAt the Table: Making the case for Youth in Decision-Making: Research Highlightsfrom a Study on the impacts of Youth on Adults and Organizations by the InnovationCenter. Summary of key research findings from the Youth in Decision-Making researchstudy (see following). Download atwww.theinnovationcenter.orgCreating Youth/Adult Partnerships by the Innovation Center/ National 4-H Council. Forthose just beginning to explore youth-adult partnerships as a strategy for community andorganization building, this book offers a step-by-step tools to prepare youth and adults towork as a team. Designed with even the most novice trainer in mind, this curriculumprovides activities that challenge preconceptions, explore benefits, assess readiness andbuild trust to strengthen their work in partnership. Order at www.theinnovationcenter.orgThe Declaration of Accountability on the Ethical Engagement of Young People andAdults in Canadian Organizations by First Nations Child and Family Caring Society ofCanada. This document shares a wide-ranging perspective of youth involvement, calling fororganizations and communities to see beyond past activities and to identify and practicepowerful ethical approaches to engaging youth. Despite the reference to Canadianorganizations, this document is useful communities around the world. Downloadfrom www.fncaringsociety.com/projects/ethicalYouthEngagement.htmlThe Evolving Capacities of the Child by Gerison Lansdown. The principle behindrecognizing the ‘evolving capacities’ of the child recognizes that as young people acquireenhanced competencies, there is a diminishing need for protection and a greater capacity totake responsibility for decisions affecting their lives. The purpose of this publication is toopen the discussion and promote debate to achieve a better understanding of how childrencan be protected, in accordance with their evolving capacities, and also provided withopportunities to participate in the fulfillment of their rights. A necessary read for all youthinvolvement practitioners. Download at www.unicef-icdc.org/publications/pdf/evolving-eng.pdfFuture 500: Youth Organizing and Activism in the United States by Jee Kim, Mathildade Dios, Pablo Caraballo, et al. This is the most comprehensive detailing of youth-ledorganizing ever published. The book details hundreds of organizations across the U.S.,identifying them by location, issue-orientation, and constituency. Order from your localbookstore.Guide to Social Change Led By and With Young People by Adam Fletcher and JosephVavrus. Centering on the "Cycle of Youth Engagement," this publication is a summary of the
  • 5. social change issues and actions addressed by and with young people around the world.Available online at www.freechild.org/socialchangeguide.htmGuide to Cooperative Games for Social Change by Adam Fletcher and Kari Kunst. Anintroductory guide for young people, youth workers, teachers, and others interested inmaking social change engaging and relevant to all participants. Available online atwww.freechild.org/gamesguide.htmMaking Space/Making Change: Profiles of Youth-Led and Youth-DrivenOrganizations by the Young Wisdom Project of the Movement Strategy Center. Thispublication is a powerful tool highlighting the successes and challenges of operatingauthentic Youth Voice programs. There are in-depth features on six programs across thenation, providing vital details and tips. Download at www.freechild.org/ReadingList/reviews/MSMC.htmMeaningful Student Involvement Guide to Students as Partners in SchoolChange by Adam Fletcher. Provides a concise introduction for educators on how toempower student voice in schools by engaging students as decision-makers, and more.Includes useful theoretical models, practical considerations, and valuable examples fromacross the United States. Download at www.soundout.org/MSIGuide.pdfSoundOut Student Voice Curriculum by Adam Fletcher. This is the first collection oflesson plans for classroom teachers focused on engaging student voice ever published.Includes a variety of hands-on, project-based activities that teach students about learning,the education system, school reform, and how students can be meaningfully involved in allthree! Order from www.soundout.orgYouth Participation and Community Change edited by Barry Checkoway and LorraineGutierrez. Academics and organizational leaders from across the U.S. explore currentresearch and action happening in communities around the country. Includes a great numberof examples and wonderful descriptions from a variety of programs. Order from your localbookstore.Youth Voices in Community Design Handbook by the California Center for CivicEngagement and Youth Development. This is a spectacular, free how-to guide on gettingyouth involved in local policy making and community planning. The handbook provides astep-by-step guide to Youth Voice and is supported by an extensive online library of articlesand activities. Download at www.youthvoicesoncommunitydesign.org/