Kim Sabo Flores on Engaging Youth in Evaluation

Hello fellow evaluators!! My name is Kim Sabo Flores and I am the creator of Evaluation Access, an evaluation capacity building organization that serves non-profit staff and youth participants.  I began my evaluation career with a focus on engaging children and youth in evaluation but soon realized that adult staff also needed support.  Over the years, it is the young people who have taught me how to truly put evaluation into the hands of real people.

Hot Tip: PLAY!!!  Playing with evaluation concepts and methods helps level the playing field so that staff and youth can begin to see evaluation as something that everyone can do. By playing with evaluation it is possible to invite staff and youth to participate in creating evaluations that more appropriately reflect their work’s processes and outcomes. I often begin playing with clients (both youth and adults) through storyboard logic models. These stories generally include three to four cells: cell #1 what is going on for you client, constituent group, or community before they join your program; cell #2 what is going on for your client once they begin your program; cell #3 what is going on for your client after they leave your program.   I then have them create their logic models using photographs, cartoons, crayons, markers, sticker, etc. (see my book Youth Participatory Evaluation: Strategies for engaging young people for more instructions).

Rad Resource: Most recently, I have been using “bit strips” as a really cool resource for helping both youth and adults create their storyboard logic models.  Bitstrips is a new online comic strip technology that has numerous open access functions.

Hot Tip: Hire a young person to work closely with you.  Empower these young people to help you think about how to make evaluation fun and interesting.  I guarantee that it will change your practice, and at a minimum, it will help you dive more deeply into web 2.0 technologies.

Rad Resource: One of the young people I hired taught me about the value of “starburst” for likert scale responses.  For example, at the end of a workshop with young people, you can ask them to use the candy to rank their experiences.  For example: you can ask them: How much did you learn during this workshop (Nothing, A little, Some, A lot). As they leave the room have the question posted up on the wall with a bucket underneath. Have them drop a red starburst in the bucket if they learned “a lot”, a green if they learned “a little”, and a yellow if they learned “nothing”.  I generally post about three or four question and have three or four buckets positioned under each. Now all of my workshop assessments include candy. Starbursts are really special because they come individually wrapped (cuts down on the mess), they come in five colors, and as data goes they are pretty tasty.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to

4 thoughts on “Kim Sabo Flores on Engaging Youth in Evaluation”

  1. Pingback: YFE Week: Brian Hubbard on Strengthening Youth Participatory Evaluations · AEA365

  2. Pingback: Finding ways to engage youth in program evaluation // Life Chance Incorporated

  3. Derrick Gervin

    Very interesting! I’d love to see an example of a logic model created through bitstrips.


  4. Kim – thanks so much for your wisdom and insight around engaging youth in evaluation. I just completed a week-long “research camp” experience with youth where they chose, planned, and carried out an evaluation project around reducing stigma of mental illness. I used your book and several workshops of yours I have attended as a planning tool for the project. It was a huge success! Thanks for keeping youth-led evaluation on track!

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