Youth Empowerment: Building Stronger Communities
Youth engagement is not only beneficial for organizations, it’s also good for the youth themselves. Youth who are involved in community organizing activities are more likely to continue their civic participation as adults.
Community youth development involves six interdependent dimensions of empowerment: psychological, community, economic, social and cultural. Organizations can select one or more of these areas to focus on.
Youth Engaged 4 Change
Youth-focused community change efforts often require a substantial amount of time, energy and commitment. Moreover, achieving goals of meaningful participation requires focusing the effort to address specific issues that are important to youth, while simultaneously building a bridge to larger collaborative change strategies and decisions.
The foundation initiative supported seven community-based organizations in a diverse set of communities to explore strategies for linking youth voice to collaborative decision-making. The seven sites differed in their locales, median income levels, coalition models and approaches, and the chosen focus of their community-scale change processes.
Research identifies multiple reasons to involve youth in civic engagement, including informing local planning and policy with unique youth knowledge and insight; accomplishing community projects through youth labor; and building strategic constituencies for community change through youth advocacy (Checkoway & Gutierrez, 2006). In addition, youth involvement provides socialization, builds self-esteem and identity development, extends friendships, promotes social inclusion and a sense of purpose, and enhances leadership capacity.
Youth Empowerment Projects
Youth empowerment projects provide youth with a space to build self-esteem, learn new skills, develop leadership talents and connect with community organizations. Programs that have a focus on youth empowerment may include service learning, student-centered learning, free schools, youth led media and community youth development programs.
In Newport News, a youth empowerment project works to reduce the amount of juvenile crime committed in the city by helping young people identify and address the root causes of their behavior. The program uses a variety of assessment tools, including the YASI (Youth Assessment Screening Instrument), to gauge risk and needs for participants.
The program also teaches youth how their actions affect the environment around them, using Kurt Lewin’s force field analysis theory. Youth learn about economic empowerment, which focuses on teaching them how to take ownership of their assets and create income security; social empowerment, which teaches them how to be more involved in their communities; and cultural empowerment, which focuses on reinforcing positive culture. 토토솔루션
Youth Involvement in Community Decision-Making
Many youth empowerment projects focus on empowering young people to participate in community decision-making processes. This is important because it helps to ensure that the needs of different segments of society are reflected in policy decisions. It also helps to strengthen trust in government and promotes transparency and accountability.
These programs often include training for young people in leadership skills and in communication and problem-solving. They also focus on building self-confidence and promoting healthy lifestyles. Many of these projects pair young people with mentors who provide guidance and support.
Involving youth is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and tackling other global challenges. Increasing the participation of youth in the global governance arena is crucial to addressing new and emerging issues, such as food security and access to clean water. Digital engagement platforms can help to make these processes more accessible and interesting for youth. They can also facilitate open data initiatives and crowdsourcing for ideas and solutions.
In addition to being more engaged citizens, young people who volunteer have lower incarceration rates and are more likely to experience psychological well-being. Community-based programs that empower youth through volunteering provide a critical opportunity to reduce inequality and foster opportunities for future generations.
In countries with low levels of youth civic participation, volunteerism provides an entry point for young people to determine their own priorities and set agendas in a context where traditional structures are weakened by rapid social change. In addition, international youth volunteers can help promote global citizenship and the importance of active participation in peace and development processes through advocacy and partnership work. 카지노솔루션
Whether they’re animal lovers or a fan of food, teens can make a difference by volunteering with groups like the Humane Society or Meals on Wheels. And if they want to make their resume stand out, there are plenty of opportunities to help homeless children and teenagers find stable housing with organizations like Habitat for Humanity.