What do providers need to be successful in supporting youth in a healthy, positive way?
This toolkit was created with these guiding principles.
- Every young person knows what they want and what they need, they just might need support from a caring adult to get there.
- Youth should not be asked to bear the weight of systemic deficiencies.
- It is okay to call out how the system doesn’t accommodate the needs of our youth.
WE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT:
- Our system does not operate under the assumption that youth know what they need.
- Our system does not operate in service to young people, especially young people experiencing homelessness and/or housing instability.
- As a result, young people are disempowered from decision-making, and disenfranchised from pursuing opportunities that align with their needs and interests.
- The experience of homelessness and/or housing instability means a young person is more reliant on this ineffective/broken system for support and resources to meet their needs.
What Providers Can Do — Positive Youth Engagement
As providers/adults who support and advocate for young people experiencing homelessness and housing instability, it is our job to ensure decision-making power is in their hands, and that they can access opportunities they need and want to pursue.
- Acknowledge and honor the resilience and potential of young people.
- Understand how the system has worked against the access to opportunities for young people experiencing homelessness and/or housing instability.
- Listen, center, and elevate youth voice — everything must be youth centered and youth led.
- What do youth see and identify as their own needs and how to we bring forward support to meet those.
Strategies and approaches
Here are a few strategies that model positive youth engagement to ensure youth voice is centered, and that we are working in support of the needs they identify.
- Motivational interviewing – (define)
- Trauma informed care – (define)
- Social emotional learning – (define)
- Racial equity (define)
- Gender equity (define)
Do we need to add more information (stats) to paint the picture of why the resources we are highlighting are important? Ex: this % of youth are x amount more likely to …
- Catch-all for resources most relevant to demographics of youth experiencing homelessness or housing instability(DV/SV support, legal support, LGBTQA, culturally-supportive resources, etc.)
Needs are varied and changing. Knowing where to find others championing youth in schools and communities will amplify and deepen your capacity to support a young person experiencing homelessness and/or housing instability.
- Explore dynamics of the individual youth’s network
- Connect and partner with community resource providers serving young people.
List of Champions — Resource hubs
- NW Education Access
- Community and Technical Colleges — Student Services
- CTC — WorkForce Education
- The REACH Center
- Masonic Charities
- A Way Home Washington — Anchor Communities Initiative
- Office of Homeless Youth — Youth Homelessness Demonstration Projects
- Think about adding more school-based resources.