A few days 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 so bizarre. Some key youth organizations in our community are 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 some have been running for a decade or so.
Often times, it is easy to assume that if we make services and programs available to support young people, they would be effective and impactful, which 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 our program could be no as effective as we thought. However, if we value the youth and communities that we serve, we must be open to employing systemic measurements to evaluate the outcomes and usefulness of our programs and services. Continue reading “What gets measured, gets managed: Program evaluation for youth work”