Transitions: Community Participation
Volume 14, No. 3, April 2002
This Transitions is also available in [PDF] format.
Developed by Advocates for Youth's Peer Educators with assistance from the Young Women's Project, Washington, DC
- Most adults have good intentions. Remember that they are seldom accustomed to working in partnership with young people.
- Criticism doesn't necessarily mean condescension or that an adult doesn't value your contribution. It may mean the adult is treating you the same way he/she would an adult colleague. Remember that adults are used to critiquing each other's work and offering constructive ideas to improve a project. Disagreement doesn't mean disrespect.
- Adults may not be aware of the capabilities of young people. You may have to show them.
- Adults often feel responsible for the success or failure of the project. This makes it hard for them to share power. Reassure them that you will share in successes and failures.
- Adults are just as uncertain as youth. Many have just learned to disguise it better.
- Sometimes adults use phrases and expressions, whether consciously or not, that annoy young people and that indicate they aren't treating youth as partners. These phrases and expressions can erode a relationship. Be prepared to call adults on their language.
- Don't be afraid to ask for clarification. Adults often use words, phrases, and acronyms that you might not understand. Adults new to the program may not understand them either. The language of a special issue, like HIV, is riddled with terms that can bewilder any newcomer.
- Don't be afraid to say, "No." Adults will understand that you have other important commitments, like your education, family, friends, hobbies, and sports.
Next Chapter: Tips for Effectively Faciliating Community Participation
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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