Y-Change: Young People as Experts and Collaborators
Keywords:Young people, Disadvantage, Identity, Trauma-informed, Evidence-based models, Change-makers
In recent years the socio-political and environmental advocacy sectors have seen the emergence of a number of highly respected, youth-founded and -driven organisations pushing for action across Australia and internationally. This article will showcase Y-Change, the Berry Street Childhood Institute’s youth leadership and social change pilot project, which aims to empower and enable young people who have experienced disadvantage to add their largely absent voices and weight to this movement of young change-makers. Incorporating trauma informed and transformational identity approaches in its design, Y-Change will train young people in key leadership skills and offer paid opportunities to utilize those skills, through activities internally and externally to Berry Street. Y-Change is based on a belief that the expertise young people develop through their experiences of disadvantage should hold equal weight with that of professionals and academics especially when seeking to identify and address systemic issues to which they may have been subject. The Berry Street Childhood Institute responds on a national scale to the complex social issues that impact on children’s experience of childhood in Australia. By elevating the expertise of young people in this context Y-Change also elevates the critical voices of young people who have experienced disadvantage in processes of change.
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