Learning & Social Emotional Development

Published on July 28, 2016 | Written by

Only 1 in 3 lower income youth participate in out-of-school time/expanded learning programs in Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Youth/adult partnerships are a core component of all of Youthprise’s internal and external work. We know that in order to develop the best solutions, it is integral to work alongside young people to learn from their ingenuity and expertise. Our dedication to youth/adult partnerships is a core part of our work in Learning & Social Emotional Development. Our goal for this focus area is to increase young people’s social-emotional skills related to social competence, positive identity, commitment to learning and academic persistence.

In order to have the greatest impact, we know it is necessary not only for organizations to provide dynamic programming to engage young people, but to have young people at key points of decision-making. This includes creating positions for youth on staff, youth advisory boards and on Boards of Directors.

Our work in the area of Learning & Social Emotional Development includes competitive grantmaking processes for Capacity Building Grants for expanded learning programs and the Somali Youth Development Fund. Youthprise is investing in redefining philanthropy to include the voices of community members and youth, and our decision-making processes engage youth and community members throughout the process. Additionally, when considering organizations for our Capacity Building Grants we prioritize organizations that are dedicated to youth engagement across all areas of their work, and organizations that have racial equity as a core component. In terms of racial equity, we assess if the staff and board of an organization reflects the communities that they aim to serve.

Another way that we redefine philanthropy through our work in Learning & Social Emotional Development is through our youth-directed giving. In 2015 we piloted an international model, YouthBank, in the state of Minnesota with eight pilot sites. YouthBank is a model that puts money directly in the hands of young people who are trained as grantmakers, a process that not only leads to community-driven giving but equips young people with essential life skills. YouthBank grantmaking committees set themes, create application procedures and criteria, undertake publicity work, interview young people, write reports and evaluate what works and what does not work in their processes.

These are just a few examples of our work in Learning & Social Emotional Development, but all of our work is centered around young people and has a strong focus in racial equity.

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