In this series of stand-alone workshops, youth workers and young people learn how to address inequities at the programmatic, organizational and institutional levels. A team of youth and adults developed this series, which is framed around five strategies to advance equity in youth programs.
Parallel to this series, we offered a Youth Equity Learning Cohort as an opportunity to gather with peers to engage in deep reflection. 17 youth-serving organizational teams took part in our 2019-20 cohort. Nearly 50 cohort members reflected and learned about their role as youth workers and their responsibility to offer high-quality programs that are responsive, culturally relevant and rooted in equity and justice. Together they learned to analyze youth programs through an equity lens and focused on improving youth worker practice to advance equity.
To extend learnings from the cohort to the wider youth development community, we are partnering with the Youth Leadership Initiative to host a series of free virtual youth equity workshops and technical assistance. These workshops will introduce what it means to use an equity lens in youth work. Each session will provide different frameworks and concepts to analyze our mindsets, behaviors and structures. Participants will reflect on their personal role in creating equitable systems for young people to thrive. Everyone will walk away feeling energized to change and will have practical ideas to improve their programs. Attending all three workshops is not required, but is highly recommended.
This series is led by a team of young people and youth workers representing these organizations:
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth
- Hennepin County Library
- Science Museum of Minnesota’s Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center
- Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board
- Wilder’s Youth Leadership Initiative
The youth equity learning series is funded by the Howland Family Endowment for Youth Leadership Development.
Strategies to advance equity in youth programs
co-created by practitioners and young people
Respond to youth-identified needs
Change practices of assuming that adults know what youth need.
Expose histories to unpack identities and practices
Uncover untold histories to identify how they currently affect our society, youth youth workers and practices.
Reconstruct the platform to redistribute power to youth
Move from youth as customers or participants toward youth as partners and leaders.
Institutionalize inclusive practices
Embed inclusive practices in existing institutions so that inclusivity becomes normalized in our society.
Prioritize accountability to youth and their communities
Shift program accountability to include expectations from youth and community.