Monday, July 6, 2009

Resource: The Institute on Youth, Education and Families at the National League of Cities

I haven't come across any participation-related news items or events in the last few days, so I thought I would post another good resource I've found. The Institute on Youth, Education and Families (IYEF) at the National League of Cities provides assistance to city leaders (in the U.S.) in a number of areas, including early childhood education, job training, after school programs, support for disconnected youth and K-12 education. Most relevant to the subject of this blog, however, is IYEF's work on youth master planning and youth participation in local government.

Youth master planning, according to the IYEF website, is:
"a process in which city leaders bring together various constituencies--including young people, the school district, parents, businesses, and others--to engage in a process of gathering and using information to establish a set of priorities for the community at large. Based on those priorities, specific action steps are established to improve the lives of children, young people, and families in that community."

A youth master plan would include an assessment of a community's needs and assets with respect to youth, and specific goals and strategies for utilizing the assets and meeting the needs. Young people are very involved in developing youth master plans, which presumably encourages them to stay involved once the plans are completed.

IYEF also provides assistance to cities in promoting youth voice in local government. Among the strategies suggested are establishing a youth advisory council, hosting a youth summit, conducting youth mapping projects and appointing young people to local boards and commissions.

The YEF Institute also hosts the Youth Policy Advisors Network (YPAN), which helps local leaders promote youth participation in local government by sharing resources, research, tools and strategies, policies and best practices.

Finally, IYEF hosts "YouthScape," a website designed to help youth leaders who are active in local government to share their experiences and learn from one another.

Institute on Youth, Education and Families

Youth Participation Advisors Network


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