Youth voice is “the active, distinct, and concentrated ways young people represent themselves throughout society.” [from Washington Youth Voice Handbook]. Encouraging youth voice is an active process that requires action on multiple levels (relational, programmatic, cultural etc.) According to the Weikart Center For Youth Program Quality, promoting youth voice in afterschool programming can: build youth motivation, promote learning and self direction, and improve programs and communities.

Youth4Youth Grants

Vermont Afterschool’s Vermont Youth Council created the Youth4Youth (Y4Y) Grants in 2018-2019. These funds were available to young people to fund ideas that will help promote youth rights, youth expression, and creativity across the state. They funded projects that help address the rights identified in the Youth Declaration of Rights, which was written by young people from across the state.

Communities of Practice

We offer the opportunity for youth development staff and out-of-school time professionals to participate in a FREE Youth Voice Community of Practice. This group is for people who want to explore what it means to include young people in decision-making, as well as how to form and support youth councils for out-of-school time programs. Learning comes from facilitated discussions with each other. Meets virtually every month; email Sam if you’d like to join.

We also have many training options for different interests and levels. Whether you’re looking to integrate more choice into your programming, hoping to foster a more inclusive culture for the perspectives of youth, or working to integrate young people into the structure of your organization, we can work with you to find an offering that’s a good fit. Check out more on our trainings page to search for youth voice workshops.

Resources for Professionals

-Washington Youth Voice Handbook by Adam Fletcher

-The Freechild Institute’s list of many YV resources

-Hart’s Ladder of Participation

-A critique/reflection of the Participation Ladder by Hart

-True Colors United “Youth Collaboration Toolkit”

-Students at the Center “Motivation, Engagement and Student Voice Toolkit”

-”Got Issues? Get Organized!” Youth Action and Advocacy Planning Guide

-Adolescent Health Initiative’s “Creating and Sustaining a Thriving Youth Advisory Council”

Resources for Young People


-”Transitions to Adulthood”- Tons of resources on Employment, Education, and Living Skills, among others from the University of Massachusetts.

-”Transitioning to Adulthood”- A list of resources from the Vermont Family Network, including healthcare, driving/transportation and employment.

Get Your Voice Heard

The Young Writers Project– An online community of writers, and a way to support you in getting your creative ideas out there. Classes and workshops too!

Support & Assistance

Outright Vermont’s Mental Health Resource Guide– A listing of queer positive mental health providers broken down by county.

Know Your Rights

American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont

Vermont Human Rights Commission