The Power of Youth Voice

Actually, it’s untrue. Organizations that work to serve the needs of their communities and make them stronger, healthier, happier places are always doing something right…it’s just that it doesn’t always have to be so hard.  We can draw on each other’s skills and experiences to connect the dots and build the bridges that create a continuum of care.

There is no shortage of need. That means there is plenty of work for everyone to do, and the best thing we can do is get busy helping each other achieve our common goals.

I met Christine Gendron at a juvenile justice conference she helped youth organize after spending a year working to teach them how to advocate for their ideas for change in the juvenile justice system (and I don’t mean better food.) As a representative of TNOYS (Texas Network of Youth Services) Christine was instrumental in transforming the lives and experiences of this group of kids. I have a little experience with juvenile justice kids.  I know many of them to be charming, funny, engaging and intelligent. As I expected, these kids were serious and educated about the issues. The conference was amazing as it gave people from all areas of service an inside view into how the juvenile justice system can be improved (You wanna know? Ask the kids who are in it…they’ll tell you.)

What was incredible to me was hearing the kids speak openly about the problems and their possible solutions. The whole time I was thinking…we have to do a media piece on this. They need video, great video, to highlight what they’ve done here. Is it possible that we can these kids who have spent a year here and bring them one step farther by having them do a film workshop where they shoot and create some media pieces from the work they’ve done?

Just a few weekends ago we had that workshop and it was great!  It happened because we collaborated. We brought our skills and our people to the table and said…CREATE! MAP wants to thank Christine and TNOYS for the depth of their commitment to central Texas youth and for their willingness to let us come in and work with their kids. Final cuts coming soon…


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