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Train Youth Activism

How to encourage youth toward activism
Last update: May 9, 2022

In this article, you will gain tips for how to attract future youth activists by either encouraging a potential passion, instilling a few habits, or recruiting youths for an activist project.

Why Encourage Youth Activism?

Where’s the need? Why is it so important to get youth involved in civic expression?

Preparing Young Minds

  • The importance comes in with the fact that the youth need proper environments in which to develop the skills for civic engagement. Proper enviroments that work to educate youths towards original thought and critical thinking can discourage the risk of youths falling to extremist or improper groups that seem attracgive on social media
    • “Adolescents need to experience a sense of belonging and purpose – both things that can come from feeling tied to our social fabric in some way. When a young person’s connection to that social fabric is torn, they will look for other ways to meet those needs. And as recent events have demonstrated, across the globe, extremist groups are all too happy to bring young people into their folds.”
  • Civic engagement assists youth with their physical and mental health, as well as teaching them to develop the habit of taking action when something stirs their curiosity.
    • “I recently talked with Jennifer H. Chuang, MD, MS, Medical Director of Adolescent Inpatient Services at CHOP’s Division of Adolescent Medicine, about how activism positively affects teenagers. In addition to being an adolescent medicine specialist, Dr. Chuang is an activist herself, having run for political office one year ago, and knows first-hand that stress is often part of civic engagement.
      • ““Being engaged at any level is good,” says Dr. Chuang. “It energizes kids and clarifies what’s meaningful to them.” She notes that patients have recently told her about their efforts to protest gun violence at their schools. “They’re proud of their work and being able to put words into action.”
    • A study published in the journal Child Development earlier this year points out that engaging in civic activities—specifically voting, volunteering, and activism—can have positive effects on teenagers’ mental and physical health. Being involved in the community can help reduce depression and lower the chances of unhealthy behavior, such as substance abuse, researchers found.”
  • Activism encourages critical thinking skills that would help them in their every day life
    • “Community-based organizations often drive this work, along with young leaders themselves, but sustainable youth engagement can come when communities create more support for youth voices to ensure that community-decision-making is informed by a wide range of youth—especially those directly impacted by community change.”
    • “Activism, community organizing, and participation in social movements are powerful forms of civic engagement. Throughout American history, these avenues for change have often been led and fueled by young people. Youth activism has an extraordinary potential to transform communities, and it carries important benefits to those who participate—especially for low-income youth, youth of color, and other young people who have been historically marginalized from civic life….

Ways to Promote Youth Activism

What are some tangible ways you can encourage the youth to engage in civic expression?

Offer Resources

  • Offer Resources
    • Provide financial assistance
    • Provide opportunities online
      • youth don’t have that much freedom
    • Go to the youth instead of the other way around
      • go to places they already go to
      • EG: mall, YMCA, connect with the schools, etc
      • get your activists attitude there for people to see

Educate Others

  • Schools, more likely than not, don’t provide oppertunities for youths to learn about the mportance (or even the act) of activism.
  • Must provide these oppertuntieis:
    • Examples: school assemblies, community forums, teach-ins, peer-to-peer programs and social media forums
    • “Include opportunities to share the information in interesting ways (written, art, theatre, etc.) and they should also give other students the chance to explore their own thoughts and feelings about the topics. Youth who want to know more may be more likely to learn from another young person.”
  • Teach different ways that youths can engage in civic expression
    • Most people only know actvism as protests
    • Alongside protesting, teach other ways that youths can ngage in civic expression:
      • Protests
        • [They can create posters, prepare songs or chants, and practice symbolism that conveys their thoughts and feelings. They should consider whether they want to do it individually or organize a group of students from their school to go together, make transportation arrangements and ensure that safety concerns are addressed.]
      • Art
        • Many youths express themselves with art
        • If art is an outlet for the youth to engage in, then they should utilize their skills for civic engagement
          • EG: Play performances, art exhibits, poetry jams, etc
      • Advocate for legislation
        • Youth may not know how they can very much have a voice in what happens in their town
        • Educate them on how to contact their mayor, local Congressperson in America for example, explain the ways youth can reach out to their local government

Social Media

  • Social Media
    • trends/hashtags
    • Public awareness campaign
    • Social media sites like Twitter, Insta, Discord → fastest way for news to travel fast and far

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