Community of Practice (COP)
Youth Engagement

We aim to provide a community where youth and youth-serving practitioners can come together to share ideas, resources, and experiences in order to promote meaningful youth engagement in all aspects of programming.

What is meaningful youth engagement?

Meaningful youth engagement is an inclusive, intentional, mutually-respectful partnership between youth and adults whereby power is shared, respective contributions are valued, and young people's ideas, perspectives, skills and strengths are integrated into the design and delivery of programs, strategies, policies, funding mechanisms and organizations that affect their lives and their communities, countries and globally.
 
Meaningful youth engagement recognizes and seeks to change the power structures that prevent young people from being considered experts in regard to their own needs and priorities, while also building their leadership capacities. Youth includes a full spectrum of the population aged 10-29 regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnic identity, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability, political affiliation, or physical location.

Membership

Our membership includes youth development practitioners dedicated to ensuring meaningful youth engagement in programming globally. Members represent organizations big and small, profit and non-profit, local and international. We welcome any members interested in keeping up with youth engagement efforts in different geographic regions and programming sectors, including but not limited to: workforce development; health; education; democracy, rights, and governance; and youth leadership.
 
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Goals

  • Contribute and disseminate a shared definition of ‘meaningful youth engagement’ for YouthPower and the broader community of practice.

  • ​Support the development of youth engagement measurement indicators for YouthPower and the broader community of practice.

  • Create a space for the sharing of youth engagement experiences and group problem solving.

  • Develop a clearinghouse of evidence, resources, and tools on youth engagement hosted on youthpower.org.

  • Bring the youth voice into YouthPower activities​.

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What have we done?

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What are we doing?

  • ​Providing recommended entry points and guidelines for youth engagement programming

  • Curating youth engagement-related resources and tools

  • Collecting evidence on how youth engagement impacts program outcomes

  • Hosting webinars and twitter chats with youth on various topics including what youth engagement looks like in the field

  • Creating and maintaining a platform for youth to ask questions and share ideas related to youth engagement
  • ​We are partnering with Young America’s Business Trust (YABT) to strengthen youth engagement across all CoPs

 

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Co-Champions

Dr. Christy Olenik, Vice President, Technical Services, Making Cents International

Dr. Olenik has 25+ years of experience leading, designing, managing, and evaluating holistic youth programs in the US and internationally. She was a co-author on the 2014 USAID publication Youth Engagement in Development: Effective Approaches and Action-Oriented Recommendations for the Field.

Mike Sweigart, independent consultant, formerly Program Officer for Youth Participation, National Democratic Institute

Mike is an international development specialist with a focus on youth political and civic participation and inclusive and human security. In addition to coordinating NDI's youth participation portfolio, he has supported democracy assistance programs in Eastern Europe and North Africa.

Facilitator

Lindsey Woolf, YouthPower Learning Project Manager, Making Cents International  

Lindsey Woolf, MSc, is an international development project manager and youth organizing specialist with experience leading and facilitating youth-led organizations, movements and campaigns, as well as developing youth leadership programming and trainings. Lindsey holds a MSc in Anthropology and Development Management from the London School of Economics. 

Former Co-Champion

Caity Campos, formerly Global Practice Specialist - Youth & Workforce Development, DAI

Caity is a youth and workforce development specialist and young professional entrepreneur specializing in technical service delivery, new business development, knowledge management, and marketing and fundraising for international youth development programming.