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Engaging youth

Bringing youth into the assessment process is an important step. You will need their compliance, but preferably their support, to implement any new policies. However, if you ask for young peoples’ suggestions, you must find a way to incorporate them. Young people don’t want to feel like they are a part of the process; they want to be a part of the process.

Consider what you are asking youth, how you are asking youth, and why you are asking youth before you engage with them. 

  • Young people are the experts in their own lives, so ask them about their personal experiences.
  • Find creative ways to engage with youth. For example, give them disposable cameras and have them take pictures of  what they like or don’t like about the program space;  have them draw a map of the space and color code spaces. You can have them complete the Tool if they already have some experience with the BE SAFE issues.
  • Youth can report how it feels for them to be in the space and what issues they feel are most important. Youth will notice and respond to things differently than adults.
  • Have conversations be concrete and focused. For example,
    • at the end of this discussion, we will identify real examples of how bullying has happened in our program
    • By the end of our activity, young people will have agreed on a definition for “safe space”
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Be transparent about what you will do with the information you receive from youth.