Organizing for Change

02 - Engaging Youth in Community Change

February 28, 2017

Goal: “to equip coalitions, organizations, and individuals to bring change to their community”


Host, Amanda Decker joins the youth from SRSLY Chelsea to talk about how to engage youth in community change!


Welcome to Episode 002 of the Podcast: Engaging Youth in Community Change


Guests: Abbie Dobos gr. 8, Riley Thorburn gr. 8, Jessie Ligi gr. 12, Allison Hughes gr. 10, Natalie Gofton gr. 10, Ben Schwarz gr. 8, Jessie Kauffman (Coalition Director)


Guest Links: SRSLY Chelsea (SRSLY stands for Seriously. This spelling of SRSLY is used when people are texting each other on their cell phones.)


SRSLY Website:

SRSLY on Twitter:

SRSLY on Facebook:


Links Mentioned:

  1. CADCA
  2. NYLI (CADCA’s National Youth Leadership Initiative)


What is minecraft? Ben speaks about involving the community in a minecraft server building project. Minecraft is a computer game that enables players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D generated world. This project was Ben’s idea to provide a fun, drug free activity for youth after school.   


Words of advice from youth for youth who are interested in joining a coalition:

  • Don’t be afraid to step up. You have a voice and it matters.
  • You don’t have to jump in right away, just show up and see what it is about.
  • Joining a coalition is a way to make your voice heard.
  • If it is something you believe in, do it. You can make a difference.


Words of advice from a youth leader to the adults about youth involvement in a coalition:

  • Youth are waiting for you!
  • Give you opportunities to reach for more and to reach their goals.

3 Insights from This Episode:

1.  Fun: Make what you do “fun”. SRSLY ideas to make your meeting “fun” for youth:

  • Bring Food
  • Make it a place where youth will want to invite a friend. Inviting a friend is the most popular way that SRSLY grew their youth base.
  • Play an icebreaker at the beginning
  • Separate into two groups during a meeting so that youth can choose what level of intensity they wish to be involved in. An example would be: planning fun drug free events, or something a little more intense like sorting out data to determine what the issues in your community are.

2.  Start Young: Involve youth BEFORE high school. If you can start at 5th grade, youth will have an easier time getting involved and will most likely continue with the coalition into high school.

3. Be Flexible: Be flexible with youth schedules. You don’t have to have the same youth at the table all of the time. If you can get a core of youth to the table, additional youth can join them when their schedules permit. Don’t guilt a youth for not coming to every meeting.

Next Episode: Subscribe now for free and you won’t miss episode 003