YFE Week: Shepherd Zeldin and Jane Powers on Involving Young People in Organizational Change

Greetings!  I’m Shep Zeldin and I am a professor in the Civil Society and Community Research Graduate Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and I’m Jane Powers from the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research at Cornell University.

We are engaged in a long term project to promote and support youth-adult partnerships (Y-AP) in organizational and community change efforts.   The multiple resources that we have developed can be found at http://fyi.uwex.edu/youthadultpartnership/and www.actforyouth.net.  The notion that youth and adults can work collaboratively, as authentic partners, to design and implement programs remains an innovative idea in the United States.  There are, however, many exemplary models of Y-AP and a strong research base has emerged to support its practice.  Y-AP can be a confusing term.  It has overlap with other concepts such as youth participation, youth engagement, and youth empowerment — but is different in key ways.

Hot Tip:  We have learned that the first step toward Y-AP is definition, discussion, and reflection.  Organizations must come to consensus as to why they want to involve young people in program design and evaluation, as well as identify their goals:  where within the organization do they most want Y-AP to exist.  Once this consensus has been built, progress and momentum follow.

Rad Resource:  We have developed two tools to help organizations “make the case” for Y-AP, and to plan and design evaluation efforts:

 Although many organizations are motivated to engage in assessment and evaluation they often do not know where to start; few have staff experience in conducting these activities.  A further challenge is youth participation.  Organizations want to involve youth as partners in assessment and evaluation, but are often unsure on how best to collaborate with youth throughout the process.

Rad Resource:  We have developed a tool kit that guides organizations through all aspects of the organizational assessment and evaluation process from conceptualization, to forming questions, to collecting and analyzing data, to reporting on findings and recommendations.  Youth Adult Leaders for Program Excellence (YALPE) is especially appropriate for programs that actively seek to strengthen program quality and improve their services and include youth as key partners in that process.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Youth Focused Evaluation (YFE) 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 aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.


1 thought on “YFE Week: Shepherd Zeldin and Jane Powers on Involving Young People in Organizational Change”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.