Fostering youth engagement:
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Youth-adult partnerships are collaborations between adults and youth in the decision-making and planning processes. When adults enable youth to be a part of the decision-making and planning processes, youth voice, empowerment, and participation become important tools for facilitating engagement. Better understanding these processes can be beneficial for practitioners and programmers. Incorporating these tools increases support and opportunity for youth developmental benefits and increases program retention rates. This thesis focuses on better understanding the relationship between youth voice, empowerment, and participation and critical factors in developing youth engagement and utilizing the power of adult-youth partnerships in youth development. A preliminary model of Systematic Degree of Engagement specifying the relationship between youth voice, empowerment, and participation has been developed and discussed. One of the key issues in developing the model has been that existing literature has rarely made distinctions between voice, empowerment, and participation. The terms have been used interchangeably and, when distinctions have been made, overlaps between the terms have not been fully explored. Therefore, this thesis built on existing literature by defining distinctions among these constructs. After distinctions between concepts were made a model was derived: Systematic Degree of Engagement. From this research, program designers are able to develop programs and assess existing programs that foster youth engagement. Researchers benefit from this thesis in understanding the distinctions in voice, empowerment, participation, and engagement. The findings of this thesis are the distinctions in terminology of voice, empowerment, participation, and engagement; as well as, a model illustrating these terms independence and inter-relatedness.
Maynard, Karen Kimberly (2008). Fostering youth engagement:. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from