A while ago, I was catching up with a good friend of mine, and during our mutual vent-session over the frustration we feel about the youth sector, she mentioned something I found puzzling.
Some key youth organizations in the community were opposed to evaluation practices to assess their youth programs and services, even when the opportunities to do so were available. Not surprisingly, some of these programs were not doing so well, although they have been running for a decade or so.
Often times, it can be easy to assume that if we make services and programs available to support young people, these programs would be effective and impactful. This is not always true.
Other times, it is easy to become attached to the program, or the funding, or our own ego, and we do not want to find out that our program is not as effective as we thought.
A youth program that is committed to youth wellbeing, however, is reflective, willing to improve, change and grow and diligently ensures that its youth participants are experiencing the outcomes that the program is working towards.
If we value the youth and communities that we serve, we must be open systematically evaluating the outcomes and usefulness of our programs and services. Continue reading “What gets measured, gets managed: Program evaluation for youth work”