Youth engagement is a shift in thinking that challenges us to look at youth differently and include their voices and input into plans, strategies, and services to support them. Successful youth engagement strategies take a view of youth not as being “at risk,” or a set of problems to be fixed, but as resilient, resourceful people who can partner with adults in a joint effort to solve community problems.
TNOYS believes that youth-serving organizations play a critical role in promoting youth engagement. Often youth and their families know best what they need and how to make services work for them, and incorporating youth voice and youth-adult partnerships can help make youth service organizations stronger and more relevant.
Youth engagement happens most effectively when youth are empowered and involved at multiple levels, from service provision to evaluation to policy development. TNOYS provides its members and other organizations with tools and resources to help make that happen, including our Youth Engagement Toolkit, a compilation of materials and resources for organizations looking to launch or enhance their youth engagement efforts.
TNOYS’ trainings and conferences promote youth involvement, and when possible include youth speakers and presenters. TNOYS also has several major projects and programs focused on youth engagement, including our annual PEAKS Camp, biennial Youth in Action Capitol Day, Harris Transition Coalition, and Recovery Through Participation program. Learn more about these programs and resources below.