Listening Session: What Big Decisions are Youth Facing Today?

In October 2018, the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs hosted a listening session in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Twenty-one youth ages 16 to 19 traveled with a supportive adult to the listening session from across the United States.1

In small groups, the young people talked about the important decisions in their lives. They spoke about people who support them and resources they use to make decisions. The young people also discussed ways to break down barriers. Then they presented their ideas to federal government staff and supportive adults.

A video of youth discussing the decisions they — and their peers — are facing, who they go to for support, and more was produced from the listening session. The video was created by eight young people who attended the listening session.2

The youth chose to focus on five topic areas most important to them:

  1. Career Readiness
  2. Healthy Relationships
  3. Identity
  4. Education
  5. Access to Health Care

As a result of the listening session, several young people who attended are helping create new digital content for Youth Engaged 4 Change, a microsite of that is curated for young people ages 16-24. This and other new content aim to help youth make the most of education and career opportunities, identify and create healthy relationships, and learn more about mental health and self-care.

1 Youth came from Alabama, California, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah.
2 Dexter, Karishma, Lexandra, Maddy, Nate, Nile, Noah, and Raven