We are Aspen, Journey, Sira, Sati, and Alexus- members of the Youth Evaluation Team at the Goodman Community Center (GCC) in Madison, Wisconsin. We are high school youth who work with GCC staff, and graduate students and researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to evaluate different programs in our community centers and schools.
Within our evaluation process, many people ask, “Why should there be a youth evaluation team in our community center?” We have learned that the most important reason an evaluation team is beneficial is the opportunity for youth voice.
- The program gives us a chance to give our input and ideas on problems within our community centers on the north and eastside of Madison.
- It also gives us a chance to take responsibility for the improvement in the communities, and practice leadership skills around decision making.
- Another thing that we like about being on an evaluation team is getting to collaborate with staff to organize surveys and collecting data. We also get to work as a team with the staff and get to be treated like one of them, instead of just a student giving feedback.
- When it comes to the evaluation teams and the process, they’re a good reference to have for college applications and it is great for finding different connections throughout the community for more jobs and evaluation opportunities.
- This program gives us, and the staff that we work with, a chance to work on improving our skills of working with others, and communicating with people we may not know to get connections for our data collecting. All of these activities have given us the opportunity to grow as a person and experience a college level type of prospect.
Our purpose for having this evaluation team and doing all this work is to better our communities and become role models for younger kids who might want to be a part of an evaluation group to have their voices heard. We also plan on leaving our community center and schools better than they were when we first started.
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Youth Focused Evaluation TIG Week with our colleagues in the YFE AEA 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.