Youth Voice Glossary
By Adam Fletcher
There are a number of
important words and terms that help young people and
adults effectively communicate about Youth Voice.
Following are definitions of some of the important terms
used throughout this Handbook.
Deliberately using community activism as an opportunity for
collaborative learning. [Activist
imbalanced preference of adult perspectives, actions, language
and culture. Adultism usually excludes youth. [Resources
to Resist Adultism]
Adult Ally A person
who does not identify themselves as a youth who acts in
partnership with youth. Adult allieship is fostered in personal,
cultural, social, or institutional relationships through
friendships, partnerships, or mentoring. [Resources
for Adult Allies]
Ageism Exclusionary practices
based solely on age.
Community-Based Organizations Also called CBOs, these are
nonprofit organizations that serve the public good.
Community Youth Development
A strategy, philosophy, and personal approach to acknowledging
the ability, authority, and knowledge of young people as
powerful, purposeful catalysts for personal, social, cultural,
and institutional growth and transformation.
Thinking about what we are thinking and doing, and then acting
on what we have thought about; A circle of learning that
promotes continuous action for social justice. [Critical
strategy to raise issues or injustices through an individual or
group's physical presence or collective activity that frequently
involves a civil disobedience component, which entails breaking
a law or an ordinance that is deemed unjust.
is a process of knowledge creation, in hopes that students will
learn it. Whether in classrooms and schools, organizations
and workshops, or communities and activism, education can build
a person's skills and analysis, and help them to understand and
make choices throughout their life. [Education
Empower To invest with power, especially legal power or
official authority; to equip or supply with an ability
process that strengthens and activates an individual or group’s
capacity to satisfy their own needs, solve their own problems,
and acquire the necessary resources to take control over their
fear of youth, including the behaviors, conditions, and culture
of youth. [Resources
Infantalization The degradation to the status of an
infant of anyone who is not an infant. Includes attitudes,
behaviors, structures and culture.
Elders, adults, youth, and children working together, sharing
experiences and transferring knowledge so every new
organizational effort doesn't start from scratch and so
communities can see their collective goals. [Intergenerational
Juenism An imbalanced preference of
youth perspectives, actions, language and culture. Juenism
usually excludes adults.
Organizing Youth organizing and community organizing are
strategies for engaging broad groups of individuals in working
together for justice, equity, freedom, rights, or other
The idea that our governmental system is at its best when people
vote, attend city council meetings, make their voices heard, and
are aggressive about presenting the issues they care about to
their representatives. This also refers to organizational
systems that operate like a government where everyone is
participating and actively involved. A number of youth
organizations try to create an environment wherein all members
are encouraged to implement their ideas (as opposed to just
talking about it in terms of larger government structures).
Paternalism Behaviors, conditions and cultures that treat
people in a fatherly manner, especially by caring for them but
not allowing rights or responsibilities.
Pediaphobia The fear of infants and children, including
the behaviors, conditions, and culture of childhood.
Through workshops, lectures, in-the-field experience and
learning about power and how it plays out in our lives,
political education raises awareness about social and political
issues, develops leadership skills, and teaches effective
organizational development. The goal is to educate peoples
on the REAL DEAL about our collective situation in the world and
to teach us how to fight oppression.
Positive Youth Development
Engaging young people in a variety of activities in order to
strengthen positive attributes that are considered healthy
standards for behavior.
together critical reflection and concrete action with/in a
community in order to transform it.
Community space or new spaces for youth, for art and for
non-profit endeavors, in the public realm.
Democracy A consensus-based relationship for
self and community governance founded on
difference and dissent that draws oppressive
relations of power forward to be challenged.
The right by which all peoples are entitled to determine their
political status, pursue their economic, social and cultural
development, freely dispose of their natural wealth and in no
case be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
Service Learning Engagement in deliberate action that
benefits the public good in order to develop, reinforce or
strengthen learning goals.
Social Justice Using
collective democratic action to create just, equitable, and
sustainable for all members of society. [Social
Solidarity A union
of interests, purposes, or empathies within a group that focuses
on collective responsibility, authority, and interests.
Specific freedoms and rights granted upon young people met to be
upheld within the confines of a school building. [Student
process of learning through life without formalized or
institutionalized classrooms or schoolwork. Relies on
interpersonal relationships and natural learning to have effect
on learners, rather than systems including textbooks and
classroom teachers. [Unschooling
established between young people and adults designed to foster
and support Youth Voice. [Youth/Adult
A growth process occurring during teenage years.
For most young people, this learning means meeting the
basic personal and social needs to feel cared for and to be
safe, valued, useful, and spiritually grounded; and building
character, skills and competencies that permit functioning and
contribution in daily life.
Young people gain the authority to
assert their ability to make decisions and generate actions to
cause change in their own lives and the world in which they
deliberate effort that centers on young peoples' participation
in personal, social, institutional, cultural, and other forms of
action throughout society.
organization, project or process in which young people decide on
what gets done and how it gets done. Youth led does not
necessarily mean “no adult involvement or role.” [Youth-Led
Service Learning Projects]
Youth Voice The ideas, opinions, experiences, attitudes,
knowledge, and actions of young people. Variants include
youth voices and youths voice.
All definitions here were created by
The Freechild Project, with a few exceptions. Other sources include:
Active Element Foundation (2002).
Future 500: Youth Organizing and Activism in the United States. Subway
& Elevated Press. (here)
Random House. (1997). Random
House Webster's College Dictionary. Random House Reference.
Numerous definitions were adapted from
across the Internet. For more information please contact The
2008. Adam Fletcher owns the copyright
for this material on behalf of The Freechild
Project. You are welcome to print out
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only - you cannot make any financial
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