YES!’s definition of youth empowerment is the outcome by which youth, as change agents, gain the skills to impact their own lives and lives of other individuals, organizations and communities.*
Youth that are empowered using The Model continue to create community change throughout their lives.
YES!’s definition of youth empowerment at the individual level is exercising power over ones life by being skilled, critically aware, and active in creating community change.*
YES!’s definition of youth empowerment at the organizational level is the implementation of a culture, vision, and system that supports youth empowerment at the individual level.*
The Model is a three-pronged approach that effectively engages young people in work that challenges them to develop skills, gain critical awareness, and participate in opportunities that are necessary for creating community change.
- Skill Development: The process of strengthening the skills of youth so that they know how to effectively make decisions, positively interact with their peers, and act as community advocates.
- Critical Awareness: The process of providing youth with the information and resources necessary for analyzing issues that affect their lives and environments as well as strategize on ways to act as change agents in their communities.
- Opportunities: The process of providing youth with platforms for decision-making and encouraging their active participation in creating community change.
YES! applies The Model to youth ages 13-21.
* This definition is a result of adult and youth staff collaboration, April 2011