In a previous post, Youth citizenship: An intersectional analysis, I briefly touched on the importance of youth engagement to provide young people the knowledge and skill sets needed so they can become active citizens that contribute to building healthy communities and a stronger nation.
The need for involving young people as leaders for social change strategies has recently gained momentum. We recognize that young people carry knowledge and expertise on the conditions of their marginalized position in society and the stresses that such conditions impose on their everyday lives .
Providing physical spaces where young people feel valued and empowered is essential to support their positive development. Safe spaces for youth are places where young people can come together to express themselves and engage in decision-making processes that impact their lives. Continue reading “Youth cafés: creating youth-friendly spaces”→
When I was doing my undergraduate studies, I was very certain that, after attaining my marketable degree, I would lead the revolution that would bring capitalism to its final graveyard. My twitter handle read, ‘Karl Marx is my baby daddy,’ and I was determined to make him proud, although I still have not read the Capitalist Manifesto,*eeks!*, but a copy of it has a special space on my bookshelf.
Such rage was induced via a one-hour lecture on Marx I attentively listened to in my second-year social movements class. I was, and still am, your typical rage-fueled, poorly informed, whiny millennial.
Disclaimer: since then, my views on capitalism have drastically changed.
Given the nature of citizenship, and it historical, social and political contentions, there remains a lack of consensus on what constitutes citizenship. The legal definition of citizenship defines the term as the position or status of being a citizen of a particular country, with elements such as a passport, or a national identity.
However, citizenship can also be conceptualized as a process that gives ways to relations of power and inequality within a given society that is “contingent upon the subordination of specific bonds of gender, race, class,” which shape the experience of the individual citizen. In short, citizenship is the individual’s relationship with the wider society; it claims who belongs where, who has obligations, who benefits from rights, and who is entitled to services. 
Historically, the primary focus of youth work has been on risk prevention and rehabilitation, such as delinquency and drug addiction, and to keep youth off the streets, known as a person-centered approach. Such an approach has led to service providers to regard young people as problems requiring a solution or intervention.Continue reading “Critical youth work”→
Youth engagement has gained a lot of momentum in many fields that work closely with young people, including youth programs and services, youth organizations, schools, and other institutions working to help young people thrive.
These organizations thrive to implement youth engagement practices that capture the voice of young people they serve. While it is important to recognize the importance of youth engagement, the issue of youth tokenism remains an important issue in the field of youth work.
What is youth engagement?
Youth engagement is the practise of getting young people to participate in bettering their communities and the decisions that affect their lives. The recognition of young people as important resource for systemic improvement, and as active contributors to their communities, empowers young people to get involved in responsible and challenging actions to create positive social change.Continue reading “From tokenism to authentic youth involvement”→