By: Leslie M. Booren
- As the holiday season approaches, Youth-Nex is revisiting the 2022 archives for the blog.
- We highlight themes from this year’s blog postings, including youth voice, the latest research, and more.
- Read more and see what posts you missed from 2022, and what you should take into 2023!
At the core of the work here at Youth-Nex is including and elevating the voices of youth. Dr. Nancy Deutsch, Youth-Nex Director, recently said there are two significant reasons for this. The first is that youth are more than just future adults who will one day be impacted by and engaged in making decisions about the world; they are both impacted and active now.
“It’s not just that youth have a stake in the future impact of the actions we take, they have an immediate stake in them too,” Deutsch said. “That means they should have a say in how we think about social issues and what we do to address them. Beyond that, they are already actively trying to make change. Just look around and you can see how young people are engaged in social change efforts across a range of issues.”
Deutsch also believes that including youth voices yields better results.
“We need their ideas,” Deutsch said. “Young people are better at brainstorming beyond boundaries. They engage in creative problem-solving in a way that can open new possibilities that adults don’t see. Because adolescents are more open to novelty and risk-taking than adults are, this can make them more innovative problem-solvers.”
In 2022, we featured youth writers that were middle schoolers, high schoolers and young adults. They talked about the importance of art, advised educators on how to use social media, highlighted the importance of Black History, and encouraged young people to be active in performing arts. Read more about:
- “Art Can Be a Force of Change,” by Maya Koehn-Wu.
- “The Power of the Creator Economy in Education: How Educators can Thrive Digitally,” by Harish, WIT teen entrepreneur.
- “The Power of Intergenerational Activism,” by Celina Adams.
- “Youth Performing Arts Series: How Empowered Players Has Helped Me,” by Gloria & Ash, 9th graders from Empowered Players and members of the Teen Arts Board.
Check out these blogs to link to the youth takeovers on Instagram that accompanied many of these posts!
Youth-Nex takes a translational approach to scholarship and innovation which aims to expand and apply the science of Positive Youth Development. Our work enhances the strengths of youth to support thriving and prevent developmental risk such as violence, physical and mental health issues, substance abuse and school failure.
In 2022, many of our blog posts highlighted new research just published or available to teachers, parents and more educational stakeholders. These researchers explain their new work on:
- “Race, Racism, and Relationships: What Matters for Teens’ Mental Health?,” by Jessica Stern.
- “Middle School Redesign: A How To Guide from Educational Stakeholders,” by Ashlee Sjogren, Detajha Woodson & Faith Zabek.
- “Black Youth Suicide: A Public Health Crisis and Call for Support,” by Jasmin R. Brooks.
- “Familial Mentors May Help Promote Close Parent-Adolescent Relationships in Black Families,” by Janelle Billingsley.
- “Mentoring for Enhancing Educational Attitudes, Beliefs, and Behaviors,” by Michael Lyons.
What to Take into 2023
Although all these blog posts share important perspectives, there are two that we would be remiss not to highlight from 2022. The messages shared by these authors are particularly salient given the on-going current news in the United States for youth as we approach 2023:
- For Pride month, Lamont Bryant writes how “LGBTQ+ Youth Need Your Support.” They describe how the U.S. is at a turning point, emphasizing the importance of social support for our LGBTQ+IA2+ communities. Read more about what you can do now for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, two-spirit, and other sexual diverse and gender minoritized individuals (LGBTQ+IA2+).
- For Mental Health Awareness month, this video blog addresses “Youth Mental Health & Reshaping Our Culture.” Daniel Fairley II shares tips for what adults can do to support youth mental health right now, after the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have any comments or questions about this post, please email Youth-Nex@virginia.edu. Please visit the Youth-Nex Homepage for up to date information about the work happening at the center.
Author Bio: Leslie M. Booren is the Associate Director for Communications and Operations at Youth-Nex and the Youth-Nex blog editor. In this role, she manages operations, HR, events, communications and marketing for the center. Previously she has worked at the Center for Race and Public Education in the South (CRPES), EdPolicyWorks, and the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) in various roles from research faculty to managing director. She has a strong interest in community and youth development by bridging applied and research-based practices.