Other Youth Topics


  1. Youth Topics
  2. Adolescent Health: Think, Act, Grow® (TAG)
  3. Game Plan For Engaging Youth
  4. Eight Successful Youth Engagement Approaches

Eight Successful Youth Engagement Approaches

Youth councils

Many elected officials and both governmental and non-governmental organizations across the country have created youth councils: formal bodies made up of youth who advise decision makers on matters pertinent to young people.

The American Red Cross National Youth Council (NYC) has 13 youth members and three adult advisers who nationally represent the youth volunteers of the American Red Cross and seeks to promote young volunteers as an organizational resource.

Resource You Can Use: Recruiting and Retraining Young Leadersfrom School-Based Health Alliance

Youth governance

Support young people in leading an organization and encourage them to develop efforts that nurture healthy adolescents.

Colorado 9to25 is a collective, action-oriented group of Colorado youth and adults working in partnership to align efforts and help all youth ages 9-25 in the state reach their full potential and achieve positive outcomes.

Resource You Can Use: Youth-Adult Partnerships in Community Decision Making: What Does It Take to Engage Adults in the Practice? (PDF, 52 pages) — from 4-H

Youth serving on boards

Consider establishing a youth position on your organization’s governing board and ensure it is filled regularly.

America's Promise Alliance was created to bring together individuals, institutions, and sectors to share the responsibility to help young people succeed. America's Promise has two positions on its governing board reserved for young people.

Resource You Can Use: Youth Board Members: Can minors serve on a nonprofit board? — (Contains some information about legal implications and alternatives) from Nonprofit Law Blog

Youth voice

An important component of youth engagement is creating opportunities for youth to express themselves, voice their ideas, and provide input for projects or programs. It is critical for youth to actually be heard.

Youth in Focus empowers urban youth, through photography, to experience their world in new ways and to make positive choices for their lives by finding their voice and learning how to express it.

Resource You Can Use: Youth Voice Toolboxfrom Freechild Institute

Youth leadership programs

A wide variety of youth leadership programs exist throughout the United States to provide leadership training to young people and give them opportunities to develop important life skills.

The FosterClub's All Stars program provides a group of young people (formerly in foster care) each year with intensive leadership and public speaking training and sends them to teen conferences and foster care-related events across the country.

Resource You Can Use: Engaging Youth: A How-To Guide for Creating Opportunities for Young People to Participate, Lead and Succeed (PDF, 68 pages) — from REACH. Connecting Communities and Youth for a Healthy Future.

Youth advocacy

Offer ways for youth to speak out on issues affecting adolescent health, such as texting, later start times in schools, tobacco use, or healthy eating, and to advocate for themselves and their needs.

SparkAction has organized a number of opportunities to help young people advocate for different and better policies.

Resource You Can Use: Best Practices in Self-Advocacy Skill Buildingfrom Center for Parent Information and Resources

Youth service

Youth who participate in service projects tend to feel more community connections, are more engaged in school, and better prepared for the workforce.

The National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) develops young leaders through service-learning opportunities, such as their recent Project Ignition on teen driver safety. NYLC offers leadership opportunities, training, and resources to help adolescents address issues that matter to them.

Resource You Can Use: Best Practices in Self-Advocacy Skill Buildingfrom Youth Service America: Youth Changing the World

Youth organizing

Encourage youth to develop and implement a project or initiative that brings together their peers for a cause related to adolescent and young adult health.

Young Invincibles was formed in 2009 by young people to bring youth voices to the health care reform debate. Young Invincibles has expanded to help youth speak out on education, jobs, and a variety of other issues.

Resource You Can Use: An Emerging Model for Working with Youth (PDF, 28 pages) — from Funders' Collaborative on Youth Organizing


Adolescent Health: Think, Act, Grow® and the logo design are registered trademarks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Youth Briefs

How Individualized Education Program (IEP) Transition Planning Makes a Difference for Youth with Disabilities

Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.

Youth Transitioning to Adulthood: How Holding Early Leadership Positions Can Make a Difference

Research links early leadership with increased self-efficacy and suggests that leadership can help youth to develop decision making and interpersonal skills that support successes in the workforce and adulthood. In addition, young leaders tend to be more involved in their communities, and have lower dropout rates than their peers. Youth leaders also show considerable benefits for their communities, providing valuable insight into the needs and interests of young people

How Trained Service Professionals and Self-Advocacy Makes a Difference for Youth with Mental Health, Substance Abuse, or Co-occurring Issues

Statistics reflecting the number of youth suffering from mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders highlight the necessity for schools, families, support staff, and communities to work together to develop targeted, coordinated, and comprehensive transition plans for young people with a history of mental health needs and/or substance abuse.

Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care: Challenges and Solutions

Nearly 30,000 youth aged out of foster care in Fiscal Year 2009, which represents nine percent of the young people involved in the foster care system that year. This transition can be challenging for youth, especially youth who have grown up in the child welfare system.

Coordinating Systems to Support Transition Age Youth with Mental Health Needs

Research has demonstrated that as many as one in five children/youth have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Read about how coordination between public service agencies can improve treatment for these youth.

Civic Engagement Strategies for Transition Age Youth

Civic engagement has the potential to empower young adults, increase their self-determination, and give them the skills and self-confidence they need to enter the workforce. Read about one youth’s experience in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).