In 2004, adult and youth representatives from two Making Connections site teams sought assistance from MYTOWN, a Boston-based non-profit, on how to engage young people in the initiative’s work. MYTOWN trains youth to tell the city’s story while providing them with ways to advocate for themselves and their community. Making Connections Hartford was engaged in an effort to document problems in their community and wanted to use MYTOWN as a vehicle for youth advocacy and leadership. Making Connections Providence sought help engaging youth in their work to connect low-income families to jobs, community services and neighborhood support efforts.
Getting kids to open up for the good of the community takes skill
Findings & Stats
Youth development programs work best when young people are allowed to choose from a menu of activities and projects.
Kids Getting Results
As shown by MYTOWN and Cityscan, youth leaders can help gather, analyze and publish data and advocate for community revitalization in new and powerful ways.
Adults need to learn to work with youth in ways that add value to the work and help develop kids’ leadership and communication skills.
Statements & Quotations
Adults need to realize that young people are not all alike, young people are not static and each youth has different skills and needs. These differences should be understood and appreciated.
– Sarath Suong, Providence Making Connections
People think youth development is about changing young people to be the way they think youth should be—youth are seen as ‘developed’ because they ‘got out’ of the neighborhood, have money, have a job, went to college, have a nice car, a family and a house. None of those things necessarily have anything to do with personal growth.
– Liz Miranda, Director of Research and Training, MYTOWN