Engaging Youth and Historically Underrepresented Groups in Civic Engagement and Placemaking

Youth Visions for Stronger Neighborhoods

Thanks to my early involvement in California’s Internet industry (in the mid-’90s, I easily found Internet consulting clients after I moved to Washington, DC. They sought out my advice on planning user-friendly websites and Internet marketing campaigns. My clients included small businesses, community development corporations, civic and neighborhood groups, nonprofits and foundations.

One of my favorite consulting clients was the Community Technology Centers’ Network. For this nonprofit, which sadly no longer exists, I developed and wrote the curriculum for a youth civic engagement program piloted for three years in after-school programs nationwide: “Youth Visions for Stronger Neighborhoods.”

During the six-month program, youth analyzed media representations of neighborhoods and residents, conducted interviews, and crafted proposals for building on local assets. Participating youth met with mayors, organized community planning meetings, and formed youth councils.