This paper provides a framework for evaluating youth-led social change. The framework considers: seven topics (e.g., environment, human health and safety, and education); nine engagement types (e.g., volunteerism, research and innovation, and political engagement); six organizational types (e.g., advisory body, social enterprise, and individual); three strategies (socialization, influence, and power); and three scales of impacts (individual, community/interorganizational, and national/international). Using this framework, empirical research provides evidence of how youth – defined as young people 15-24 years of age – have been agents of change in Canada over the 35 years from 1978 to 2012. A media content analysis of 264 articles, combined with frequency and chi-square tests, were completed to study the factors and the relationships among them. The results show a strong relationship between the impact and the strategy, topic, engagement type, and organizational type. The results also show a strong relationship between the strategy and the impact, engagement type and organizational type. The findings have implications for youth leaders and those who advocate for, work with, support, and educate them, and for those interested in evaluating social change efforts.
Research Professor on society, culture, art, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, neuroscience, autopoiesis, self-organization, complexity, systems, networks, rhizomes, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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