Encouraging an Engaged Community

While helping your kids get involved in your community is an important part of connecting your family to other people around you, it’s also important to support the other adults in your neighborhood in creating a safe, welcoming, and caring community for kids. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a neighborhood that highly values youth, take advantage of and enjoy it! If your community could use some help, use some of the following strategies to mobilize adults on behalf of youth.

  • Organize a “vision team” composed of community members (including youth) and representatives from local schools, government, law enforcement, congregations, health care, and any other organizations to discuss how your community is engaging youth. Use this team to begin developing an action plan.
  • When planning to make a change in your community, focus on a positive vision; instead of addressing a specific problem, aim to energize your community in the long term and create a sustainable youth involvement plan.
  • Gathering information—whether from a formal survey or informal conversations—is an integral part of building a strong community. Talk to local youth and get their views on needs, resources, and their vision for the future.
  • It can be tough building a community from scratch, so network with other communities that have been successful in mobilizing adults for the benefit of youth. Ask them how they started their movement, what they’ve found to be effective (and ineffective), and if they can provide any advice or assistance.
  • One of the most effective ways to move your project forward is to have the support of your local government. Speak with your city council (or other governmental body) about getting a youth representative involved in their decision-making process. Influencing civic decisions and making sure your community keeps youth in mind when making those decisions is a vital part of successful change.

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