Culture and Context: Stories and Lessons from the Field (Youth-led Social Change)

Posted by on July 9, 2007

Culture and Context: Stories and Lessons from the Field is series of three books developed by The Collaborative Fund for Youth-Led Social Change. At a time when the youth development field is strong in theory and practice, and youth organizing is emerging as a powerful approach, it is critical that youth practitioners and funders understand the importance of combining strategies from the two fields. The Collaborative Fund for Youth-Led Social Change (CFYS) sought to chart new territory by bringing these fields together to explore the strength of their union, making explicit efforts to address issues of gender, race, and age, and identifying key approaches to successful efforts. Central to this work was the integration of identity in effective youth-led social change. Identity?for youth and staff, organization, and community ? emerged as a critical link. CFYS introduces the term Cultural Context to represent these multiple identities. This report illustrates how understanding the impact of cultural context on youth development and youth organizing efforts has led to new approaches to youth-led social change.

Culture and Context: Stories and Lessons from the Field synthesizes the effort?s key findings. The report is divided into three books:

Book I: Stories and Lessons from the Field identifies themes and knowledge gained from the project and outlines recommendations for the field and donors. The book describes CFYS and offers lessons for the field and those working with youth-development or youth-organizing groups. This work builds on Power and Possibilities, the first report summarizing the efforts of the Collaborative Fund for Youth-Led Social Change, published in 2003. Critical to Book I are the Ideas in Action examples contained therein. Raising the voices of youth and adult program partners was critical to this work and thus central to understanding the impact of CFYS. Ideas in Action are examples provided by our grantee partners that illustrate key points.

Book II: Capacity Building for Youth-Led Social Change, describes the intensive capacity building effort undertaken by CFYS partners and offers key suggestions for the field on structuring supportive capacity-building.

Book III: Voices from the Field, contains stories authored by our grantee partners. Voices from the Field are first-hand accounts from West Virginia, Milwaukee, Denver, San Francisco, and Oakland that describe the core issues faced by organizations working at the intersect of youth development, youth organizing, and gender. Like the Ideas in Action found throughout Book I, these examples are critical to any true understanding of the impact of CFYS.

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