What gets measured, gets managed: Program evaluation for youth work

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Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

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”

Youth cafés: creating youth-friendly spaces

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Photo by Farzad Mohsenvand on Unsplash

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”

Meaningful youth engagement: Multiple contexts, multiple realities, multiple approaches

Meaningful youth engagement

“Meaningful youth engagement is an inclusive, intentional, mutually-respectful partnership between youth and adults whereby power is shared, respective contributions are valued, and young people’s ideas, perspectives, skills, and strengths are integrated into the design and delivery of programs, strategies, policies, funding.” – YouthPower Continue reading “Meaningful youth engagement: Multiple contexts, multiple realities, multiple approaches”

From tokenism to authentic youth involvement

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.[1] Continue reading “From tokenism to authentic youth involvement”