Transitions: Community Participation
Volume 14, No. 3, April 2002
This Transitions is also available in [PDF] format.
By Kayla Jackson, MPA, Director, HIV/STD Prevention Programs, Advocates for Youth
- Treat youth as partners. Ensure that all members of the group, regardless of age, share the decision making power—equal voice and equal vote.
- Welcome, encourage, and affirm contributions and insights from both youth and adults.
- Encourage everyone to recognize the mutual benefits of youth and adults working together in partnership. Ensure that all the adult members "buy into" youth's participating in the process.
- Be selective about the youth and the adults who participate.
- Establish high expectations for everyone involved. Don't patronize youth by lowering expectations regarding them. On the other hand, don't expect more from young people than from adults.
- Provide training and build the capacities of both youth and adults.
- Schedule meetings when youth can attend and in locations accessible to them. Keep young people informed about plans and meeting times.
- Include room for growth and advancement for experienced youth and adults.
- Don't make assumptions about what individuals—of any age—are like.
- Take the time and make the effort to develop a good relationship with youth before expecting much. This work is often new to youth; take the time to explain. Youth may interpret adults' being abrupt and hurried as a sign of disinterest in youth's participation; so, go slow and explain what's going on.
- Remember that there are times when youth need to say, "No." Their education, relationships, communities, and extracurricular activities are important, too.
Next Chapter: Tips for Youth When Working with Adults
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Transitions (ISSN 1097-1254) © 2002, is a quarterly publication of Advocates for Youth—Helping young people make safe and responsible decisions about sex. For permission to reprint, contact Transitions' editor at 202.419.3420.
Editor: Sue Alford