Kids learn that they matter when they have a say.
We learn from what they say. We also learn that what they have to say matters. When kids are a part of decisions, when they are empowered to be community experts on what they know best – childhood, it is a benefit to kids and the community as a whole.
What can CCR (and you) do?
Ensure that kids have opportunities to meaningfully participate in their community and its decisions at all levels. Remember that kids are stakeholders, and we need their input. Provide kids opportunities for leadership and space to be solucionaries (solution revolutionaries).
First Children’s Ombudsperson in the country: CCR Associate Garry Bevel, Jacksonville’s Children’s Ombudsperson, is dedicating to increasing youth voice and participation. Our Ombuddy created the JAGS (District Student Government Association), is closely involved with the MYLAC (Mayor’s Young Leaders Advisory Council) and Youth Leadership Jacksonville.
Youth-Led Forums: CCR Associates Garry Bevel and Betsy Dobbins have worked closely with a group of leadership students who have started the Evac Movement. CCR has engaged the youth in thinking about strategies for leadership and community action, building upon their story telling and relationship building strategies, to elevate their voice at the community level. Last spring, CCR assisted the Evac youth in facilitating a youth-led forum for city leaders and stakeholders. This spring, the Evac Movement facilitated a youth-led forum with CCR as invitees.
Ensuring Youth are a Part of Community Conversations: CCR wants to make sure that young people are involved and heard when panels of experts or groups gather together. CCR recently hosted a juvenile justice forum in partnership with FSCJ Public Safety Management Program. Two members of the Evac Movement were panelists and offered their insights and ideas to the community along side CCR Associates Michelle Hawthorne and Mikah Owen as well as Assistant Director of the State Attorney’s Office.