Our Only Hope: Reclaiming the Future of Youth


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Adam Fletcher's keynote presentation from the 2007 Washington State Prevention Summit in Vancouver, Washington.

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Our Only Hope: Reclaiming the Future of Youth

  1. 1. Our Only Hope: Reclaiming the Future of Youth Adam Fletcher Author, Washington Youth Voice Handbook
  2. 2. Definition of Youth VoiceYouth voice refers to the distinct ideas, opinions, attitudes, knowledge, and actions of young people throughout our society.
  3. 3. A Crisis of Disconnection• Youth are disconnected in our communities• Youth are disconnected from our public good• Youth are disconnected from their own futures
  4. 4. Youth Voice is Missing in Our Communities• At home• In school• During youth programs• Throughout our neighborhoods• Across our state• In our shared history
  5. 5. Youth Voice is Missing• No decision-making for the public good• No positive affect on the whole community• Repeat participation in poor community activities
  6. 6. Barriers to Youth Voice• Perspectives of Adults• Structures of Disconnection• Young people themselves
  7. 7. A Conspiracy of Hope• Washington has an untold history of engaging youth voice• New youth/adult partnerships are being created• The future is still ahead
  8. 8. An Untold History of Youth Voice in Washington State• Early common history of the state• 1960s and 70s youth empowerment activities• 1980s and 90s community building orgs• 1990s and 00s youth voice programs
  9. 9. New Youth Voice Opportunities• Birth to 25+ opportunities are on the rise• Community-wide approaches• Powerful outcomes are being proven
  10. 10. Five Point Plan for the Future
  11. 11. Point 1• Promote community-wide accountability for the problems that affect the whole community
  12. 12. Point 2• Engage every young person in every community as a powerful and purposeful partner
  13. 13. Point 3• Encourage and educate every adult in every community about the potential of youth voice
  14. 14. Point 4• Create safe and supportive opportunities for youth voice throughout every community in Washington State
  15. 15. Point 5• Infuse youth voice throughout the structures that affect every young person everyday
  16. 16. Our Only Hope: Reclaiming the Future of Youth"Our youth are not failing the system; the system is failing our youth. Ironically, the very youth who are being treated the worst are the young people who are going to lead us out of this nightmare." - Rachel Jackson
  17. 17. The Freechild Project – Resources for social change led by and with young people – www.freechild.orgSoundOut – Promoting student voice in schools – www.soundout.orgWashington Youth Voice Handbook – www.commonaction.org/publications.htm