These last few days I had the honor of going to Miami for an exciting opportunity to consult Catalyst Miami, aka the Human Services Coalition of Miami/Dade County, and to facilitate a day long seminar on meaningful youth engagement. You may have already read my post on consulting spectacular people doing awesome work, or getting ready for the seminar. This post is going to explore this Imagine Miami workshop in depth.
For my seminar on Meaningful Youth Engagement I was joined by 150 of the most determined learners I’ve been with in a while, including middle school students from a local school, nonprofit leaders from a variety of organizations, and concerned community members looking to learn about a truly revolutionary concept. I spent the day in full-on “Adam mode”, packed with energy and enthusiasm and completely present to the challenged, warm, and moving space we shared. And I was moved. There was so much passionate determination among the folks in the room, and I learned a lot from people there.
After a very deliberate prep time led by Lori Deus, the event coordinator from Catalyst Miami, and warm welcome from Daniella, the group was greeted by Modesto Abety, the President of the Miami Children’s Trust, who provided generous support for the event. With participants seated 10 to a table, we did some earnest small group introductions, and raced the engines to go.
Section three of the day focused on the barriers to meaningful youth engagement. This section hones in on discrimination against youth, which is a new conceptual framework for many adults to consider. Participants were introduced to the definitions of adultism, adultcentrism, and ephebiphobia, and I shared with them the reality that youth, adults, and structures can be barriers. We acknowledged these forces in practice by examining by assessments of youth voice.