Action and Support model
Action and Support is at the foundation of all of our work. Youth engagement is especially important in urban communities where young people’s lives are impacted daily by poverty, racism, adultism, early parenthood, neighborhood violence, feelings of alienation from peers and teachers, and other societal problems. The effort to build a movement, maintain momentum, keep organized and fulfill the many roles they are expected to play can be difficult, especially if there is no comfortable space to work through feelings. The Action and Support Model ensures that such a space is built into the structure of every youth organization, so that personal support of peers is an intrinsic component of social change.
For example, the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) provides a safe space for students through a bi-monthly peer support group. Support groups provide an excellent opportunity for students to learn peer counseling techniques, and to work through their concerns and frustrations with each other, as well as the institutional barriers they face. By breaking down the myth of isolation, the support group process has proven to be critical for overall student and programmatic success.
Youth on Board has tapped into an incredible amount of positive energy, skills, and enthusiasm by engaging young people in the institutions that affect them most. Engaging young people as partners in efforts to improve schools, youth organizations, and neighborhoods benefits both young leaders and entire communities. Our experience is supported by research showing that youth have a profound and positive effect on resolving the issues that confront them. Young people already possess the expertise around their experiences and educations and and with the right tools can become brilliant leaders and organizers in their schools and communities.