INTRODUCTION: Dozens of decisions are made about the lives of young people everyday. Families, schools, youth programs, city councils, foundations, government agencies, employers, lawmakers... the list is virtually endless. There is an equally endless list of reasons why children and youth need to be engaged in making the decisions that affect them personally and their communities as a whole. Freechild's Section Investigating Youth Involvement (SIYI) explores how young people are involved in decision-making throughout society.

 

This effort- its too divergent to call a movement- is not only happening in the US. Its not just in North America either. Young people across Europe, Indonesia, Africa, Asia, South America and Australia have been struggling for this access to representation and participation. And its an old movement, too, with a history in the US that goes back to the 1930s. In other places it goes back further. There have been many setbacks- and many successes. The SIYI explores some of each. 

 

RESOURCES: Following are several categories of action where young people are involved. Each category features examples and resources promoting child and youth involvement.

 

Resources for Youth Involvement in...

 

Community-Based Organizations - Young people participating in organizational planning, evaluation, and/or youth action councils.

 

Community Planning - Young people participating in government and community-driven planning activities.

 

Funding, Grant-making, and Foundations - Young people participating in philanthropy by distributing funds, evaluating grantees, and more.

 

Global/International Activities - Young people participating in activities that affect the whole world, including the United Nations.

 

Libraries - Young people participating in library leadership and activities.

 

Local Government - Young people forming youth action councils, designing programs, participating in parks and recreation activities, etc.

 

Media - Young people designing media in all forms, including news, films, and online.

 

Political Parties - Young people participating in political parties, as well as political party responses to youth involvement.

 

Public Health - Young people partnering with adults to raise awareness and increase the effectiveness of health promotion throughout society.

 

Research - Young people identifying issues, strategizing research, and conducting data collection, analysis, reflection, assessment, and evaluations throughout their communities.

 

Rights Advocacy - Young people calling for greater rights through community organizing and systemic change.

 

Schools - Young people participating in planning, researching, teaching, evaluating, decision-making, advocacy, and activism to improve elementary, middle, and senior high schools.

 

Service Learning - Young people leading and directing projects that connect deliberate learning objectives with community service.

 

State/Provincial Government - Young people participating in boards, committees, commissions, cabinets, councils, and other avenues to affect state-level policy-making.

 

State & National Nonprofit Organizations - Young people involved in action/advisory councils and on boards of directors.

 

Washington Youth Voice Directory - Young people engaged in a variety of activities in schools, communities, governments, and other ways throughout Washington State, USA.

 

Additional Resources

 

Advocates and Movement-Makers - These are the foremost organizations and websites promoting meaningful youth involvement in community governance, non-profit organizations, and throughout society from around the world.

 

Youth Involvement Reading List - Features more than 100 publications from around the world about children and youth involvement in community organizations, philanthropy, community planning, government, libraries, schools, research and more.

 

Top 10 Youth Voice Publications - Our choice selections from hundreds of guides, stories, reports, and more. A must-see for people who are new to youth involvement as well as those who've been doing it for years. We've found gold! All Freechild publications on youth voice listed, as well.

 

Youth Involvement Trainers, Researchers, and Builders - A listing of dozens of organizations and programs that offer training, research, advocacy, and other forms of promotion for children and youth voice, youth involvement, youth engagement, youth organizing and youth participation.

 

 

 

Youth On Board Organizational Assessment - A spectacular wake-up call for any individual or organization naively walking down the road expecting to find youth voice.

 

Assessing the Quality of the Process Used to Involve Youth - A nice assessment tool by the Canadian Association for School Health to study the quality of youth involvement in your organization. This might be the only critical analysis of youth involvement on the internet today! measure your organization's level of involvement from this extensive report and decide where you stand!

 

The Freechild Project Section Investigating Youth Involvement

 

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