Specific characteristics of youth and youth environments have been shown to support healthy development and positive life outcomes such as school graduation, mental health, and close relationships. Many different child-serving organizations play a role in enhancing these “assets” for youth. Child-serving organizations can improve their success with reaching the desired outcomes by engaging youth in active leadership roles to inform, implement, and/or evaluate many of these activities. However, there is insufficient support and guidance for organizations interested in supporting youth leadership, voice, and engagement in health and human service organizations.

The purpose of this project is to coordinate the expansion of youth leadership, voice, and engagement in youth-serving health and human service organizations.Youth Lead for Health seeks to bridge the gap between systems and youth by:

  1. Analyze youth engagement efforts across the state to identify strengths and gaps related to authentic youth engagement;
  2. Deliver training to youth-serving staff in targeted regions to provide the necessary knowledge of Positive Youth Development;
  3. Train and engage youth in collaborative youth-adult partnerships; and
  4. Provide support and enhance youth engagement programs that are focused on reducing youth public health risk.

This project will increase the engagement of youth in state and local health and human service systems and foster a space where their voices can be heard. Additionally, the project will expand awareness of the important role that child-serving organizations play in supporting positive youth development and increase agency capacity for this work.