In spaces that are currently less accessible to youth, use your power to lift up their perspectives and needs.
Background and Strategies
While supporting long-term youth self-advocacy is critical, adults must acknowledge that some environments and situations remain less accessible to youth. These may require adults to follow young people’s guidance to advocate on their behalf. When youth find themselves facing discrimination related to ageism or any other identity category, adult allies can use their position of privilege to speak and act on behalf on young people. In order to do this properly, it is important for adults to self-educate, listen to the experiences of youth, and support youths’ specific desires.
Adult allies should consistently consult with the young people that they are advocating with or for. This will ensure that meaningful progress is being made and that the advocacy reflects the intent of the youth.
Adults advocating with and for youth can ultimately open doors to youth self-advocacy and help to shift the educational landscape.
Best Practices in Action
Lori McLaughlin and Kyarrah Finch of Youth Enrichment Services (YES) discuss the importance of adults advocating with or on behalf of youth in situations where youth alone may otherwise be dismissed.