Skip Maine state header navigation
Skip First Level Navigation | Skip All Navigation
|Home | Contact Us | News | Calendar||
Site Map |
Archived material. This page is no longer maintained.
Youthlinks by Design
Grade level: 3-12
The Youthlinks by Design program provides youth the opportunity to discuss and comprehend the various emotional and intellectual definitions community residents have of “community”. Utilizing that definition, the goal is to facilitate understanding of the different explanations for why communities may thrive or deteriorate. Through twelve weeks of deep investigation and planning, participating youth design, facilitate and complete a service learning project with support from actively involved community members.
The curriculum guides youth through an investigation of the various services currently available in the youth’s defined community. If services do not exist for a certain sector/need, discussions around challenges and solutions for this population/sector are facilitated by a Youthlinks Program Manager and adult mentors.
The group typically ends up with over fifteen research areas of populations and the challenges. Examples of this range from issues/services facing animals, the elderly, homelessness, hunger, etc. From this list, and based on interest, the group will participate in consensus building and a democratic vote to choose three areas to investigate more thoroughly. Partaking in democratic voting provides the forum for discussion and debate, while also giving youth the opportunity to claim ownership for addressing the issues they care about in their community.
The group is divided into three committees, with an adult mentor or Youthlinks staff person assigned to each group. Each group is assigned one of the three topics of interest, and specific requirements are given regarding the contents of a topical research binder, which each group must complete. Binder contents include five news articles on each topic, five local subject matter experts, service project ideas and notetaking from panel discussions. Participating in this activity allows for youth to gain research skills while simultaneously identifying key organizations or individuals in their community who are knowledgeable on the identified topic areas.
Based upon the information gathering process, three separate topic expert panels are convened. Community members who work in the identified areas of interest are invited to sit on a panel and participate in a question-and-answer session facilitated by youth. In preparation for the panel discussions, the group participates in many activities designed to refine interviewing skills so that they have the ability to discover the true “need” of the identified population. “Need” is defined in this program as the difference between the way something is and the way it should be.
At the completion of the panel discussions, the group participates in the second of a series of democratic decisions. A final vote is made to decide which area of need will be the focus of the service project. At the completion of the voting, the group identifies the service project they will undertake.
Next, the group presents their project idea to community focused organizations (e.g., Key Clubs, Rotary, Kiwanis). A call to action is put out by the youth, explaining the participative process they undertook to define their service project and the support they are requesting. This oral presentation provides a forum for youth to reflect on the steps leading to the service project, while honing the skills required effectively communicating to and organizing a large group.
At the completion of the project, an additional meeting is scheduled as a celebratory event, once again providing an opportunity for the youth and involved adults to reflect on the impact they had on their community.
Youthlinks by Design’s structure is based on the three critical elements of all Youthlinks programming: critical thinking, empathy and introspection. Youthlinks by Design is also the means to teach youth how to be effective and engaged citizens.
All youth participating in Youthlinks activities are asked to participate in pre/post surveys designed with the assistance of Glenwood Research, a research and evaluation consulting company located in Maine. www.glenwoodresearch.com
Activities are focused for the development of the following skills:
For specific activities please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The YMCA Service-Learning Guide: A Tool for Enriching the Member, the Participant, the YMCA and the Community and other service-learning based materials.
Local and Regional Teacher Workshop
Hall of Flags and Project Citizen Showcase in Augusta
Service-learning workshops offered at conferences run by other Maine organizations
Project Adventure training
Maine Youth Suicide Prevention Conference
Applying Brain Science for Substance Abuse Prevention
Youth participants of Youthlinks by Design, in collaboration with a local Rotary chapter, decided to focus their resources on improving recreation in their community. Through research, interviews and investigation they opt to purchase the supplies to build four picnic tables to donate to a local 4H camp.
Participants of Youthlinks by Design, in collaboration with a local Rotary chapter, were emotionally impacted by the struggles of a local food pantry as the food pantry faced an expensive a daunting move to a new location. Youthlinks by Design participants organized and motivated community members to assist in preparing the new building that the food pantry purchased (painting, cleaning, etc.) and physically moving the organization during its off hours, so that the food pantry was able to provide seamless service to its cliental. Youthlinks by Design members provided incredible physical and logistical support while also saving the food pantry thousands of dollars.
Rockland, ME 04841
|Copyright © 2007 All rights reserved.|