Engaging Youth: Leadership Development in Five Steps

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Reposted from Roots of Action:

“Raising children to become active citizens doesn’t happen by chance. Being familiar with the common steps in their journeys can help parents, educators, and other adults support kids through these important learning experiences. And it can help develop effective youth leadership programs.

Kids who develop a passion to serve can usually point to a critical experience that became transformative for them.  The experience frequently involves face-to-face interaction with people who are different from them and most often, with people who are in need. They begin to ask questions that compare their own circumstances to others. But instead of mimicking the opinions they have heard from others, such as parents or friends, they begin to form their own conclusions. Through reflection, talking with others, and linking their values to the issues that impact them, young people experience a shift in perspective. They begin to see how issues are connected to each another and become interested in understanding the root causes of societal problems. Ultimately, engaged youth see themselves as active, engaged citizens. They are able to articulate their beliefs about how they understand a social or environmental issue and they hold a worldview that incorporates themselves as agents of change.

Students reported six main ways adults helped. They 1) supported and encouraged, 2) listened, 3) set high expectations, 4) showed interest in them as individuals separate from academics or civic activities, 5) fostered self-decision making, and 6) provided another perspective during problem-solving.”

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