MEANINGFUL YOUTH ENGAGEMENT Putting Youth Engagement Principles into

MEANINGFUL YOUTH ENGAGEMENT Putting Youth Engagement Principles into

MEANINGFUL YOUTH ENGAGEMENT Putting Youth Engagement Principles into Practice Meaningful Youth Engagement: Definition a meaningful and sustained participation in an activity with a focus outside the self. * The Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement

MEANINGFUL YOUTH ENGAGEMENT Overview: - Present benefits of youth engagement for young people and your organization. - Provide examples of evidence-based best practices of youth engagement. - Outline principles of youth engagement and practical applications for your practice. Best Practice: Whats the Evidence Behind Youth

Engagement? What are the real benefits of youth engagement for young people and for your organization? Best Practice Whats the Evidence behind YE? Improved Health and Developmental Outcomes

Decreased likelihood use of alcohol, marijuana, hard drugs, tobacco and weapons Increase in goal-setting for post-secondary, academic grades, school attendance, physical activity in adulthood Best Practice Whats the Evidence behind YE? More Effective Programs and Services

Programs become more accessible and responsive to needs and priorities of young people Services are improved as young people become active stakeholders rather than passive participants Best Practice Whats the Evidence behind YE? Encourages Lifelong Engagement in

Society Increased community connectedness Young people are less cynical of political institutions Participation begets more participation Best Practice Whats the Evidence behind YE?

Brings a fresh perspective and commitment to organizations Bring new ideas and create connection to next generation (cultivation of future organizational champions) Fresh perspective and creative new ideas Best Practice

Whats the Evidence behind YE? Leads to Health Policies Youth have shaped local, provincial and federal policy Ensures policy resonates with a younger generation When involved in decision making process, decisions are more likely to be

sustainable Best Practice Whats the Evidence behind YE? Responds to Mandates Responds to Public Health standards (as well as provincial and federal priorities) Puts the Healthy School Model into

practice Ensures young peoples rights are respected (as laid out by UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) Are We Ready to Engage Youth? Now that we understand the benefits of youth engagement how do we put this into practice? What does our organization need to be ready to meaningfully engage youth? ? ? ? ? ?

? Harts Ladder of Participation: What Level of Engagement Can We Achieve? Degrees of Participation Rung 8 Young people & adults share decision making Rung 7 - Young people lead & initiate action Rung 6 Adult initiated, shared decisions with young people Rung 5 Young people consulted and informed Rung 4 Young people assigned and informed Rung 3 Yong people tokenized

Rung 2 Young people are decoration Rung 1 Young people are manipulated *Using Hart's Ladder can help organizations to identify and get rid of non-participation practices. It encourages people to climb off the lower levels of non-participation and think of ways to genuinely engage young people in the higher levels of participation. How Do We Engage Youth? There are 11 key principles that will help you achieve more meaningful youth engagement and which are of critical importance to understanding

and applying youth development approaches. Inclusiveness (aka. Same Love) Acceptance and embracing of diversity including opinion, religion, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, image, ability, age, geography and mental health

This includes the removal of barriers, including economic barriers, to enable youth engagement Positive Youth Development Alignment with Mad a positive youth development (aka. Opps)

approach Accountability (aka. Own It) Developing standards of practice and accountability for youth engagement/development work, including responsibility for reporting back to youth

Include evaluation and monitoring as appropriate Operational Practices (aka. Pump That Base) Commitment to operational practices that sustain youth engagement and enable youth development workers

Including approaches to meet the needs of youth Strengths-Based Approach (aka. Focus on Whats Whats A commitment to working with Strong,

youth to Not identify needs and build upon youth assets. This includes skill Wrong) development and capacity building i.e. education, training, on-going professional development, opportunities for group knowledge, skills and networks Also includes a commitment to facilitate/provide opportunities for ongoing

feedback, peer-review and self-reflection Flexibility & Innovation (aka. T the P Trust the Process) Commitment of youth and adults working with youth to be open to new ideas, and have willingness to take risks and challenge existing established processes and structures. Includes flexibility to hear and respond to youth initiated ideas

Space for Youth (aka. A Place to Chillax) Ensuring caring and supportive environments where youth feel safe. Includes both policies and practices that make space available to youth and enable youth to feel safe in that space Transparency (aka. Keepin it Real)

Being clear about the purpose of engaging youth, using youth friendly approaches and ensuring youth understand outcomes and products of their engagement Sustainability of Resources Put the Money where the Mouth Is) (aka.

Sustainability of financial resources for best practice youth engagement initiatives can help to ensure youth engagement initiatives are not limited Cross-Sector Alignment (aka. A New BFF) Organizations seek out strategic and

alternative partnerships that may be innovative, creative and outside of normal partnership opportunities Collaboration (aka. Workin With Our Peeps) A commitment to working with others doing similar work to share knowledge and facilitate action while fostering development of strong and lasting relationships

Conclusion Now that you know the evidence behind youth engagement and how it can significantly benefit the youth that you work with and your organization, what are your next steps? For more tools on how to bring youth engagement to your practice, visit our Digital Learning Hub: https:// Thank You! References: 1. CDC Best Practices User Guide: Youth EngagementState and Community Interventions. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention

and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010. Pages 4-6 2. Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement (CEYE). (2003). Youth engagement and health outcomes: Is there a link? Retrieved from: 3. Haid, P., Marques, E., & Brown, J. Ontario Secondary School Students Association (OSSSA), The Institute On Governance (IOG). (1999). Re-focusing the lens: Assessing the challenge of youth involvement in public policy. Retrieved from website: - Pages ii-iii 4. Kirst, M., Borland, T., Haji, F. & Schwartz, R. (2012). Formative Evaluation of the Public Health Unit Youth Engagement InitiativeBrief Report. Toronto, ON: Ontario Tobacco Research Unit. September 2012, updated March 2013. Pages 7-8 & 26-29. 5. Local Government Group. (2011). Valuing young voices - strengthening democracy. Retrieved from Local Government Group website: Pages 12-15

6. Mokwena, S. (2006). Putting youth engagement into practice. a toolkit for action. Pall Mall, London, UK: The Commonwealth Secretariat. - Pages 8-10. Retrieved from 7. Ontario Public Health Association. (2011). Youth Engagement Toolkit Working with Middle School Students to Enhance Protective Factors and Resiliency: A Resource for Health Professionals working with Young People. OPHA: Toronto. Pages 15-17 8. Ribisl, K., Steckler, A., Linnan, L., Patterson, C., Pevzer, E., Markatos, E., Goldstein, A., McGloin, T, & Peterson,A. (2004). The North Carolina youth empowerment student (NC YES). A participatory research study examining the impact of youth empowerment for tobacco use prevention. Health Education & Behavior, 31(5), 611-612. doi: 10.1177/1090198104268550.

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