Adam Fletcher is a writer, speaker and consultant focused on youth engagement and social change. For more than 20 years, he has worked across the United States, in Canada and around the world to transform the roles of people throughout society. His work motivates and strategizes with individuals, organizations and communities as they discover how to work together to foster positive, powerful realities for everyone, everywhere, all of the time.
Adam grew up in a border-crossing, low-income family that was occasionally homeless. Generational PTSD and growing up in a depressed community presented Adam with challenges at every corner, but with the support of adult allies throughout his youth he became the first child in his family to graduate high school, and later the only one to complete college. Spending more than a decade growing up in a low-income African American community, Adam developed a commitment to serving communities of color and low-income communities that has stuck with him since.
First working with young people when he was 14, Adam worked in the Midwest for three summers as a teacher in a program inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. He later worked as an experiential education facilitator, ropes challenge course director, youth center coordinator, and as an independent living skills instructor. Adam served three terms with AmeriCorps, including serving Kurdish and Iraqi refugee families in Nebraska and in rural northern New Mexico. He was also a fellow with the Points of Light Foundation in Washington, DC, and a fellow with Communities for Learning in New York City.
Adam has served in state government, worked for national nonprofit organizations, and was a youth worker for more than a decade. He is the founding director of The Freechild Project, focused on connecting young people and social change around the world, and SoundOut, the first national organization committed to promoting student voice and Meaningful Student Involvement throughout the education system. He also launched an international consulting agency called CommonAction to serve clients more effectively.
Adam has worked for the State of Washington and the federal government. He was the first student engagement specialist for Washington State’s education agency and a co-founder of the state’s Youth Service and Leadership Team. He later worked with the Washington State Department of Health as the Coordinated School Health Program manager, and directed a statewide youth-led campaign against childhood obesity for two years. He also worked for the Corporation for National Service promoting service learning and community leadership.
Adam’s writing has appeared in both magazines and academic journals around the world, including Education Leadership and Connect for Student Participation. A contributor to blogs worldwide, Adam is also the author more than fifty publications, including Student Voice Revolution: The Meaningful Student Involvement Handbook (2017) Facing Adultism (2015); The Practice of Youth Engagement (2014); The Guide to Student Voice (2013); The Freechild Project Guide to Youth-Driven Programming (2013); and SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum (2008), all published by CommonAction Publishing.
Adam authored chapters in Empowering Students for the Future: Encouraging Self-Direction and Lifelong Learning (2019, Rowman and Littlefield) and School Connectedness and Meaningful Student Participation (2009, U.S. Department of Education)
He is also the author of several local history books, including the North Omaha History series (2016) and The Guide to Fort Omaha (2017). His most recent writing includes chapters in Empowering Our Students for the Future (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) and A Handbook for Student Engagement in Higher Education: Theory into Practice (Routledge, in press).
Adam’s volunteer service includes service on the Board of Directors for Generation YES. He was on the steering committee for Future Friendly Schools, was a founding advisor for the Institute for Democratic Education in America, and was a contributing editor to the Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies.
Adam’s graduate work was at the University of Washington College of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and received his undergraduate degree from The Evergreen State College focused on Youth Studies and Critical Pedagogy.
Today, he lives with his daughter Hannah, as well as a cat and dog in Olympia, Washington. Learn more about him at adamfletcher.net and reach him by calling (360) 489-9680.