What is youth engagement?
“Youth engagement is about empowering all young people as valuable partners in addressing and making decisions about issues that affect them personally and/or that they believe to be important.” — The New Mentality
At Wellkin we embrace the notion of “nothing about us without us” and believe in true and authentic engagement practices as defined through the quality standards on youth engagement. Engaging youth is a priority for us, solidified through the establishment of Wellkin’s Youth Engagement Advisory (YEA) in early 2018. Since then, we have co-developed with members of the YEA many projects and initiatives to promote child and youth mental wellness in our community. We are committed to continuing this important partnership and continuing to look for opportunities to further embed youth engagement practices into the work we do agency-wide as we know that true engagement improves treatment outcomes/mental health recovery and overall success at an individual, agency and system level.
Learn more about Wellkin’s Youth Engagement Advisory here:
Why is youth engagement so important?
Research tells us that there are many benefits to youth engagement for youth themselves, adults, organizations and even communities.
Youth experience many benefits including increased self-esteem, connections to other youth and adults, ability to cope, and overall well-being. Youth engagement empowers youth, strengthens youth resiliency, promotes personal growth and identity development, and enhances leadership skills and critical thinking skills.
Adults benefit in that youth engagement boosts energy, collective purpose and commitment to the agency, brings in new perspectives to the decision-making process, strengthens the therapeutic alliance, and builds confidence and effectiveness in working with youth.
Agencies benefit from improvements in programs, greater ability to connect and respond to youth needs, increased reach and visibility in the community thereby enhancing access to services, and increased credibility and appeal from funders who recognize importance of youth engagement.
Communities benefit from youth engagement because it promotes community building, encourages intergenerational collaboration and partnerships, influences policies and decision-making to be responsive to community needs, and encourages civic-mindedness among youth.