Building Youth Voice

image of an older woman and young teen raking and collecting leaves

The Youth Advocates for Community Health (YACH) initiative creates youth-adult partnerships that allows youth to lead and generate energy among their peers (and adults) to improve the health in their community in ways that matter to them.

Extension provides a YACH guidebook filled with resources for planning a youth-led project through the five steps of action:

  • Choose your Battle – assess the health in your community and narrow down to one area of focus
  • Raise Awareness – speak with community partners to learn about their work and build support
  • Make your action plan- develop a plan for your project
  • Implement your plan – follow the action plan to complete the project
  • Evaluate your plan – assess your project and how you want to move forward

In Rock County. . . Youth Advocates for Community Health is only the beginning!

What Kind of Leader are YOU(th)?

Prior to reflecting on our actions as adults in Youth-Adult Partnership dimensions it is important to identify our own strengths, areas of interest and preferences for participation using the same language we will use in the community we co create with youth.

illustrated graphic depicting how to participate and communicate between adults and youth
Share your preferred way to lead.

Participate in our poll!

Communications and Media– Do you enjoy promoting or motivating people on social media, by writing articles or trying to decide what matters most to different groups of people. . .

Education and Outreach– Are you good at gathering information on a topic for people and connecting with groups to share that knowledge. . .

Research and Evaluation- Do you like to problem solve, create a question and then explore to figure out an answer that makes sense and can help someone. . .

Governance and Policy Making– Are you excited about finding ways to apply knowledge in the community as a whole by forming new ways of living together through policies or new norms. . .

Service and Philanthropy– Is your passion finding ways to find who needs help and giving them what they need. . .

Activism and Advocacy- Would your friends describe you as someone who learns about important issues and not only uses their voice to make a difference but motivates others to do the same. . .

Creating Coalition Support for Youth Voice & Policy, Systems & Environmental Change

Develop strategies for creating and sustaining coalition support for Youth voice and policy, systems, and environmental change efforts (PSE)

image of two young teens sitting next to each other, arm over the other's shoulder, smiling with sun glasses and knit hats, each holding a skateboard

Explore Resources

Adkins, Maddie. “What Do Adults Need to Do to Really Let Youth Lead?” Youth Giving, Accessed 01 June 2022.

“Authentic Youth Engagement – The Annie E. Casey Foundation.” Annie E. Casey Foundation, Accessed 01 June 2022.

Wolff, Tom. “Chapter 5. Choosing Strategies to Promote Community Health and Development | Section 5. Coalition Building I: Starting a Coalition | Main Section | Community Tool Box.” Community Tool Box, start -a-coalition/main. Accessed 1 August 2022.

Engaging Youth

During the Building Youth Voice in Rock County workshop, participants discussed the following questions:

  • How do you keep youth engaged?
  • How do you keep youth coming back?

Hear what youth are saying. Explore ‘go to’ tips and strategies. Learn from challenges. Add your questions.

an image of a colorful piechart illustrating Roger Hart's ladder of participation with adults and youth

What is our Rock County readiness? Prior to the workshop, our participants ranked their organizations on Roger Hart’s Ladder of Participation.

During the workshop, participants started these conversations. Let’s keep it going!

Data resources

Positive Youth Development Community Asset Mapping

The Voices of Wisconsin Students Project: Learning, Coping, and Building Resilience During COVID-19

Youth Risk Behavior Survey

We Know Us-Guide to Participatory Meaning Making with Young People

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