YFE TIG Week: Elevating Youth Focused Evaluation by Christen Pentek and Ross Velure Roholt

Hi, we’re Christen Pentek and Ross Velure Roholt, Site Visit Coordinator and incoming Chair for the Youth Focused Evaluation Topical Interest Group (YFE TIG).

Over the last decade, youth-led and youth participatory evaluation has become mainstream. Now, funding organizations often require youth voice in the design of youth programs and in their evaluation. This year at the AEA annual conference the YFE TIG intentionally focused on youth-led evaluations and had several presentations on Youth-Led Evaluation by people aged 16-24. As a TIG, we have been working to include young who have led evaluations people in the annual AEA conference to share best practices and lessons.

Related, an emerging goal of the YFE TIG is to develop recommendations for promoting the inclusion of young people (ages 16-24), who have designed, led, and disseminated evaluation projects, within the AEA annual meeting. This includes meta-evaluation on our mission and vision, AEA’s mission, our work as a TIG, young people’s perspectives, and the ethics/ethos of the field.  We started this work during our business meeting this year and drafted a statement of support for the inclusion of young people into the annual AEA meeting.

The YFE TIG posits that:

  1. AEA is practicing their mission and vision more fully when supporting and vocally declaring youth inclusion at annual meetings
  2. The YFE TIG should commit to make youth-inclusion a prominent aspect of the annual meeting
  3. Young people are a critical part of evaluation work (including authorship, presentations, etc.)
  4. The evaluation field ethics and ethos currently supports youth inclusion in all aspects of evaluation

Hot Tips:

  1. Join and be active in the Youth Focused Evaluation TIG. If you are an evaluator who is interested in how to better include young people in your work, such as projects that involve formal and informal education systems, employment programs, civic engagement, and more, we encourage you to choose the Youth Focused Evaluation TIG; we share relevant projects and resources throughout the year on our TIG listserv.
  2. Youth-led evaluation now has a literature and an emerging practice ethos, ethics, and promising practices.  Reach out to our TIG to be connected to resources that support this emerging field.
  3. Mentor young people; include them in your everyday work in ways that lift up their skills and perspectives.

Some actions you may see coming from us in the near future:

  • Continued involvement of youth in leadership positions in our TIG,
  • Continuing to advocate for young people’s inclusion in decisions that affect them,
  • Growing the informal youth summits and youth evaluator network, especially within the AEA annual meeting, and
  • Developing strategies for welcoming young people and their experiences at the AEA annual meeting.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Youth Focused Evaluation (YFE) TIG Week with our colleagues in the YFE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our YFE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org.

1 thought on “YFE TIG Week: Elevating Youth Focused Evaluation by Christen Pentek and Ross Velure Roholt”

  1. Marcia M Zorrilla

    Hi, I was wondering if you know of any grant opportunities to support youth-led evaluation projects? I’m based in California.

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