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Youth Voice & Choice in Afterschool

We know that research supports the importance of youth voice and choice, but do we know how to create an environment that supports and fosters youth involvement in the afterschool setting? Giving youth a space where they can be heard and valued is an important part of growth and development in youth. These resources will help you incorporate youth voice and choice into your program.

On this Page:

Youth Advisory Boards

Empowering Young Leaders

 Learn, Serve, Succeed: Tools and Techniques for Youth Service-Learning

This practical handbook from the Search Institute leads you through the whole process, from helping the students choose a project through planning, organization, and assessment.

Youth Leadership-in-Action Curriculum

The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development designed this curriculum to be used with groups of middle or high-school students. The program develops youth community leaders through the acquisition of leadership skills and knowledge about the community.

Youth Engagement

Research-Based Practices in Afterschool Programs for High School Youth

Three authors explore the implication of program activities, recruitment and retention, and student choice and voice for high school youth in ‪afterschool‬ programs.

Youth Involvement in Prevention Programming

This Advocates for Youth publication discusses effective youth involvement in youth development/sexual health programming.

Youth Leadership: Recommendations for Sustainability 

This Advocates for Youth document provides insights into the unique challenges that youth-led organizations face, followed by concrete recommendations on how all actors can best support and facilitate youth leadership.

Teen Advisory Guidebook

David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality created this guidebook to help you build a strong Teen Advisory Council (TAC). It includes information on why a TAC is important, core components of a TAC and activity guides.

Engaging Youth: A How-To Guide for Creating Opportunities for Young People to Participate, Lead and Succeed 

Sierra Health Foundation created this paper to provide an overview of youth leadership and its importance and to share some best practices from organizations that have been successful in implementing youth leadership opportunities.

Adobe Youth Voices Career Toolkit

Adobe Youth Voices designed this toolkit for youth. The kit will give youth strategies and tips on preparing for the future and making choices. The resources in the kit were developed expressly to help youth find their own creative path.

Core Principles for Engaging Young People in Community Change

This paper describes principles that can help build the capacity of organizations and communities to ensure that all youth, particularly those least likely to succeed without help, believe that they have the responsibility and resources needed to make their communities better places for themselves, their families, and their peers.

Youth-Adult Partnership Rubric

This rubric serves the following purposes: to formalize concepts of youth-adult partnerships, to be used as a self-assessment tool for strengthening youth-adult partnership practices, and to be used as a formative or summative evaluation tool for assessing structures and processes of youth-adult partnerships in the youth setting.

Youth-Driven Space – Formative Index 

This index allows providers to rank their agency across a variety of “youth driven” components.

“This is Their House, Too”: An Afterschool Space Designed for and by Teenagers 

This newsletter looks at what a Boys & Girls Club is doing to get youth engaged in afterschool programming. The paper also includes tips for programs who are seeking to develop an intentionally informal atmosphere that feels safe and enriching for the teens in the community.

Creating Youth-Adult Partnerships 

This training includes scripts for training workshops, an explanation of the process used with youth and adults to develop materials, a list of outcomes people may want to achieve through youth-adult partnerships, and a self-assessment tool for adults.

Youth Participation Guide: Assessment, Planning, and Implementation

This guide hopes to encourage organizations to involve youth in a meaningful way and increase the level of meaningful youth participation.

Tips for Partnering with Youth

This paper provides 11 tips for working with youth.

Barriers to Building Effective Youth-Adult Partnerships

There can be significant barriers to working across age differences. These barriers can undermine good intentions and waylay even the best-laid plans. This paper highlights some of the attitudes and barriers that can arise when working across age differences.

Creative Ways to Solicit Youth Input: A Hands-On Guide for Youth Practitioners

Common methods to get information are surveys, observations, and assessments and tests. This guide provides ideas for other ways to get input from youth.

Igniting Sparks Out of School Kit

Igniting Sparks from the Search Institute offers practical yet fun tools to help students tap into their unique talents and interests and includes lesson plans, posters, and other items.

Youth Voice Guidebook, David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality