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Showing posts from May, 2019

The benefits of community-engaged research

By Joanna Tzenis I am a community-engaged researcher in the field of youth development. What does that mean? It means that I approach research as a process to collaboratively strengthen the well-being of a community while contributing to the field . Here’s how I did this working alongside youth, families, and community members of Somali heritage in Minnesota. I collaborated with stakeholders to identify issues critical to the community My 10-month longitudinal study came about as I developed youth programs together with leaders of a Somali-youth serving organization, Ka Joog. Together, we created youth programs. We determined desired outcomes of these programs situated in community assets and needs around improving youths’ educational outcomes. Research questions emerged through increased stakeholder interaction that lifted up the need to more deeply understand youths’ lived experiences. In doing so, we could do two things. We could illuminate larger lessons (

Partnership problems and how to solve them

By Betsy Olson Organizational partnerships can save money, reduce effort and benefit youth . But as anyone who has built or sustained an organizational partnership will tell you, they take time and can be thorny to navigate. Over the last four years, I have co-facilitated a course for 4-H staff on organizational partnerships. In it, we discuss common partnership problems and solutions. Here are a few of the most common ones. Problem #1: I have great ideas for this partner, but they only bring obstacles After working with a school coordinator to recruit youth for a leadership program for two years with very little success and resistance to any new recruitment ideas, we discovered that they were trying to recruit youth to help in the school garden. We changed the leadership program to a nutrition teaching program that incorporated the school garden and merged our recruitment efforts. It worked. The partner became more willing to try our other ideas. Key takeaway: Improve your r