Youth Perspectives on Meaningful Participation in Community Based Programs: A Qualitative Assessment

Sherer W. Royce

Abstract


Allowing the voiceless to have a voice is a tenet of empowerment. This paper highlights research that employed a participatory action research framework to gain a better understanding of young people’s perceptions about youth empowerment and acquire their perspective (voice) about the meaningfulness of participation in out-of-school advocacy and volunteer program activities. Using Photovoice, the research provides a missing point of view in youth empowerment model development. Results indicate that the quality of a youth’s participation in a community-based program is determined by 1) youth expressing themselves without censorship, 2) occasions for youth to expand their social networks with youth and adults, and 3) adults observing and valuing youth contributions. These findings raise implications for community-based, youth empowerment programs including program philosophy, program procedures, youth empowerment content and activities, and adult leadership style. The findings may assist practitioners when designing youth empowering activities and researchers when operationalizing youth empowerment.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2009.243

Copyright (c) 2009 Journal of Youth Development

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/