Effective youth engagement at center of upcoming public webinar – The Brock News

As more organizations seek to involve young people in their community work, a free public lecture next week aims to help adult organizers better understand effective youth engagement.

Assistant Professor Heather Ramey from the Department of Child and Youth Studies at Brock University, in collaboration with Heather Lawford, Canada Research Chair in Youth Development at Bishop’s University, will present Nothing About Us Without Us: Engaging Young People’s Voices. Organized by the Lifespan Development Research Institute, the online event on Tuesday, June 7 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

In their research, Ramey and Lawford look for ways to effectively engage young people and, as part of their work, have held monthly meetings with the Center of Excellence for Youth Engagement’s ‘Facilitator Roster’ – a group diverse group of teens and young adults at the Students Commission of Canada, which focuses on everything from education to accessibility.

Their work suggests that good intentions are not enough when it comes to engaging with young people, and they recommend clarifying the goals, roles and needs of each person to ensure the best results.

Feedback can also be a crucial element, as evidenced by studies in which young people and adults working in partnership rated adults on the respect they had for young people, and adults rated themselves much more on respect. than young people.

“One of the things we often hear is that adults ask young people what they think about community programs or participating in research, but don’t tell them what changes have been made or what has been found,” Ramey says. “What young people tell us they want most is to have an effect, but we are not good at showing them impact. We let them hang.

Other ways organizers can fail when asking young people to serve their community include failing to give them a binding vote in decision-making or neglecting to compensate them for their time and contributions.

“Paying for a young person’s time can make a huge difference, especially if you want to attract a diversity of voices,” Ramey says. “You don’t want finances to be a barrier to someone getting involved, so if adults get paid, young people should too.”

Ramey also cautions against assuming that children and young people are only interested in fleshing out their resumes or logging a required number of community service hours.

“Young people do far more community service and often far more volunteer hours than they are required to do, especially when they are highly engaged, and they show the same developmental outcomes as youth who were not don’t have to,” says Ramy. “I think we have to forget that young people are ‘here for hours’ because a lot of them aren’t.”

Ramey and Lawford hope the session will help people discover new strategies and ideas to ‘move forward’ what they are already working on, as they see the potential for effective youth engagement. They are also excited to share the work they have done in partnership with the Facilitator Roster.

“Young people have always demonstrated their ability to create a legacy and change the people around them and the world, with example after example of young people fighting for civil rights, for gun control and for the protection water,” says Lawford. “It’s an interesting thing about youth engagement that organizations and practitioners often start small, and it gets bigger and bigger, with learning along the way.”

The event is for the public and registration is free but required to access the livestream.