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Youth Participation: Improving Institutions and Communities: New Directions for Youth Development, Number 96

Youth Participation: Improving Institutions and Communities: New Directions for Youth Development, Number 96

Benjamin Kirshner (Editor), Jennifer L. O'Donoghue (Editor), Milbrey W. McLaughlin (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-787-96339-2

Feb 2003, Jossey-Bass

123 pages

Select type: Paperback

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Youth participation is a key piece of positive youth development, and perhaps the most challenging one. In using the term youth participation, we refer to a constellation of activities that empower adolescents to participate in decision making that affects their lives and to take action on issues they care about. Unlike other practices connected to the youth development approach, such as caring relationships or safe environments, youth participation pushes against long-held, culturally specific ideas about adolescence, as well as institutional barriers to youth involvement. And yet there is a growing effort in youth organizations, community development, and schools and other public institutions to include young people in leadership, decision making, social justice and change, and evaluation. These efforts, which for the most part have been overlooked by academic scholarship, deserve careful analysis and support. This volume of New Directions for Youth Development takes a step in that direction by offering an assessment of the field, as well as specific chapters that chronicle efforts to achieve youth participation across a variety of settings and dimensions.

Editor-in-Chief’s Notes: The meaning of youth participation (G. Noam).

Issue Editors’ Notes (Benjamin Kirshner, Jennifer L. O’Donoghue, Milbrey McLaughlin).

Executive Summary.

1. Introduction: Moving youth participation forward (Jennifer L. O’Donoghue, Benjamin Kirshner, Milbrey McLaughlin).
There is much to be learned in the emerging field of youth participation. Examining existing challenges is critical to achieve effective and meaningful engagement of young people.

2. From assets to agents of change: Social justice, organizing, andyouth development (Shawn Ginwright, Taj James).
Youth development strategies can be strengthened by efforts that help youth become agents of change to meet pressing problems in their communities.

3. Youth conferences as a context for engagement (S. Mark Pancer, Linda Rose-Krasnor, Lisa D. Loiselle).
Youth conferences bring youth from across Canada together to wrestle with social issues and develop strategies for community development.

4. Building young people’s public lives: One foundation’sstrategy (Robert F. Sherman).
Youth are capab le of making a significant impact on problems in their communities and developing a sense of their potential as civic actors in the process—with the right support.

5. Moving youth participation into the classroom: Studentsas allies (Barbara Cervone, Kathleen Cushman).
Student voices inform us about the key ways that teachers can make their classrooms safe for meaningful participation.

6. Youth evaluating programs for youth: Stories of Youth IMPACT.
A report written by youth evaluators describes their process and findings. Interviews with youth evaluators and a city department director describe key lessons from the process.