How Do We Engage Young People?

Engaging young people in the programs youth organizations offer is easier said than done. And the reality is, the fact that youth simply “show up” doesn’t mean they’re invested or engaged in the activities. So how do we create better opportunities for young people to really get engaged in? Better engagement ultimately leads to better results. Here are some ideas to jump start your youth engagement approach:
  • Be youth-centered, not just outcomes-centered. Build relationships, and respect young people’s relationships with their peers and families. While building relationships, help build futures by planning for what happens when they’re not at your center or program.
  • Pay special attention to how your center’s programs coordinate with each other. Tailor your services so they’re accessible and allow young people to pursue their goals across interests.
  • Encourage personal choice and social responsibility in the young people you work with.
  • Get to know what the young person’s support safety-net looks like; who are the key people who make a difference in his or her life?
  • No matter what the program, focus on assisting young people achieve greater self-sufficiency and confidence.
Some of the tips above are adapted from the Transition to Independence Process (TIP), developed in a partnership with the University of South Florida and the Department of Child & Family Studies. Click here for many more resources about the findings.

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