Monday, November 12, 2012

Nashville's Child & Youth Master Plan

The Forum for Youth Investment (FYI) has released a case study highlighting the City of Nashville’s Child & Youth Master Plan. Engaging Youth For Community Change captures the process Nashville used to engage a broad array of young people at every phase of a youth-focused community change process, including design and implementation, and how this plan is shaping action within the city to support the positive development of young people.

Resident engagement is an essential ingredient of any community change movement. As individuals who may live, work or worship in a community, residents are experts about the assets, challenges and opportunities shaping their community. A broad engagement strategy that includes residents of all ages and backgrounds is essential to understanding and addressing the struggles that exist, as well as potential solutions. As Nashville’s case study demonstrates, young people are no exception. In an effort to ensure that the city’s resources were aligned and implemented in a way that effectively supports young people, Nashville launched a youth planning process to assess how the city addressed issues around education, health, safety and out-of-school-time. Recognizing the power of data, youth worked with adults to administer surveys to over 1100 youth and 800 adults inquiring about the activities and concerns of local youth, as well as the perceptions that may adults have of youth in the community.

Data from the surveys, as well as feedback from several community listening sessions, helped nonprofit leaders, policymakers, government agencies and youth in Nashville design a roadmap with meaningful solutions to some of the issues youth in Nashville care most about. The plan, which includes desired outcomes to ensure all children and youth have a successful future, includes strategies to address safe places in communities, leadership and engagement opportunities, social equity, caring school environments, physical health and high-quality afterschool programs, to name a few. In addition, the plan provides strategies to achieve these outcomes, serving as a blueprint for government agencies and private organizations to work together, coordinate resources and reach shared goals.  For example, when youth in Nashville expressed their interest in learning critical skills, such as resume building, city leadership integrated learning opportunities into a local citywide job fair.

Nashville’s Child & Youth Master Planning process can be a guide for any community interested in engaging youth in a community change initiative. For more information about the planning process, click here.

More Resources: 
Making a Difference in Your Neighborhood Handbook, Center for the Study of Social Policy

No comments:

Post a Comment