Friday, April 2, 2010

Better Advocacy Means Better Coordination

A recent survey conducted by MCCOY asked youth development professionals what they saw happening in their agencies – what challenges, from their perspective, do young people struggle with today? And what are the issues that don’t necessarily get the attention the “bigger” issues do, like teen pregnancy, drugs and violence? A consistent theme was a general lack of support – from young people’s homes, schools and communities.

And what is missing from current advocacy efforts for young people and the issues important to them in central Indiana? Coordination. Coordination that galvanizes the existing energy youth workers have and helps them make connections between public policy and direct service. Often times, adults who have the potential to carry powerful messages are hesitant and don’t fully realize their ability to influence public policy.

Finally, the assumption that young people can’t speak out for themselves was debunked. People already working closely with youth on advocacy and policy issues at the state level reported that young people are “exceptionally interested in advocacy… they ‘get it,’ and have an understanding of how things work.”

MCCOY will continue to explore ways to improve coordination of local and regional advocacy efforts, while ensuring youth build an even stronger voice for themselves. What do you think some of the barriers are to better advocacy for young people?

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