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youth-led research

Integrating Technology into Community Youth Research

Increasingly youth development programs are exploring how to integrate technology into their activities. In this issue brief, researchers from SRI International describe a joint project with the Gardner Center aimed at using technology to give youth more active roles in data collection and analysis. This work draws on a collaborative partnership that explored how new technology might be introduced to support the community youth research process of the Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning project.

Understanding Youth Leadership Development: An Examination of the YELL Program

Created in the fall of 2000, Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (YELL) was launched as the inaugural project of the Gardner Center. The afterschool program was initially a pilot project to engage youth in an inquiry process that would assess the needs and strengths of Redwood City middle school students. The program evolved into a unique youth development program in Redwood City and West Oakland with training and experiences in leadership and civic action. Gardner Center research have studied YELL since its inception in an effort to better understand youth leadership development.

Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (YELL): A Handbook for Program Staff, Teachers, and Community Leaders

The Gardner Center initiated YELL in 2000 as a nine month, afterschool pilot-program that trained 15 eighth grade students as community researchers, advisors, and socially conscious leaders. With Gardner Center program staff, embedded researchers, school and community partners, and youth themselves contributing to program development, YELL expanded to include 350 middle school and high school youth in two Bay Area communities over the next six years. While no longer running YELL programs directly, the Gardner Center includes the YELL approach in many of its community-based projects.

Mapping Out-of-School Time Resources for East Palo Alto and Belle Haven Youth

In 2009, community leaders working with youth in the City of East Palo Alto (EPA) and the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park approached the Gardner Center with a need to better understand why many youth remain disconnected from the community’s youth service programs and agencies. The Gardner Center collaborated with these leaders to gather and analyze data to answer the following questions: (1) What programs are available to youth in the EPA and Belle Haven communities, and where are there gaps or duplication in available services?

Youth Empowerment: The Contributions and Challenges of Youth-Led Research in a High-Poverty, Urban Community

This issue brief addresses the benefits and challenges of sponsoring a youth-led research project, specifically Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (a participant-led research program intended to make young people’s voices heard) in a school where students and their friends, families, and teachers confront daily difficulties posed by poverty and its attendant ills. It finds that a youth-empowerment framework has particular value in this context, but poses unique challenges to program design.

A Model for Fostering Youth Leadership: The Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning Program (YELL)

Youth leadership is widely recognized as a positive, desired youth development outcome. This issue of Youth Developments takes a close look at one youth leadership program, Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (YELL), offering a look at the Gardner Center's  youth leadership development that is informed by six years of research and practice. These authors identify three skill sets as a foundation for authentic youth leadership: (1) communication, (2) analytic thinking, and (3) positive involvement in the community.

Creating Community Change: Challenges and Tensions in Community Youth Research

This paper describes the promising practice of community youth research in the context of a live example in Redwood City, California. The paper illustrates how community youth research was defined, approached, and used, and how participants worked to overcome challenges. Rather than providing a model or framework for what community youth research should look like, the author, the lead adult facilitator of Redwood City’s community youth research project, takes the reader through the city’s journey in supporting meaningful youth involvement.

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