Youth Forum

 

The Hunnicutt Group is centered on a comprehensive Youth Empowerment Model. Our youth program was created to “engage underserved young people through community-based education, mentoring, and employment readiness programs to help them develop skills and strengthen ties to family and community. We aim to create a community where all children “have access to the opportunities, skills, resources, and relationships they need to actualize their potential."

This Model is a three-pronged approach that effectively engages young people in work that challenges them in areas necessary for creating community change.

 

1. 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.

 

2. 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 strategizing ways to act as change agents in their communities.

 

3. Opportunities

The process of providing youth with platforms for decision-making and encouraging their active participation in creating community change.

 

The job of youth development professionals is to provide opportunities for young people to develop the competencies they need to become successful contributing members of their communities (Pittman & Wright, 1991). Empowerment can be one of the most effective strategies for providing young people with opportunities to develop competence.

 

The job of youth development professionals is to provide opportunities for young people to develop the competencies they need to become successful contributing members of their communities (Pittman & Wright, 1991). Empowerment can be one of the most effective strategies for providing young people with opportunities to develop competence. Because of its wide use, the word "empowerment" has many different meanings to people.

 

According to Webster (1998), empower means "(1) to give official authority or legal power to; (2) enable; (3) to promote the self-actualization or influence." The strategy proscribed by the first definition can be quite effective provided that the party being empowered (that is, the "empowered") already has the competencies needed to achieve the desired outcome. The strategy does not work well when it is plugged into a framework of youth development in which empowerment itself is being used as a strategy for developing competencies in youth. For youth development, the third definition is more suitable.

 

"Empowering teens" refers to a process through which adults begin to share responsibility and power with young people. It is the same idea as teaching young people the rules of the game. Youth development professionals are helping young people develop non-academic competencies that will help them to participate in the game of life. Because it is a process, empowerment is something that is achieved over time, not overnight.

 

Empowering teens is important because empowerment leads to competence and competence is linked to self-esteem (Harter, 1993). Teens with increased competence can become a great resource because they will assume increasing responsibility within the day-to-day activities and in running the overall program. 

P = Persuasive/Purpose

O = Organized

W = Wisdom/Wise

E = Excellent

R = Responsible

Empowering our youth gives them the power of change and the power to break cycles that have caused problems in the past.