The Value in Youth Inclusivity for Relevant Approaches to Prevention and Interventions

April 19, 2024

Youth, often likened to sponges absorbing their surroundings, are deeply affected by their environment, even when they cannot fully comprehend it. Research indicates that they can sense and internalize emotions before being able to articulate them (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2004).

This early sensitivity underscores the importance of providing nurturing and safe environments for youth to express themselves, particularly in contexts where trauma may be present.

As caregivers, educators, and community members focused on youth's well-being, we must recognize that while we cannot erase traumatic memories or entirely shield youth from adversity, we can offer them reliable and supportive spaces to navigate their experiences. By equipping them with coping skills and fostering environments conducive to healing, we empower them to move beyond mere survival to genuine emotional and mental well-being.

It is no longer sufficient to attribute challenges solely to external influences such as music, peers, or social media. Instead, we must collectively assume responsibility for addressing these issues. This means moving beyond identifying problems and expecting educators and lawmakers to solve them. It requires a concerted effort from everyone involved in youth's lives.It is imperative that we act decisively, providing tangible solutions and safe spaces for youth to heal and thrive. Every individual has a role to play in this process. It is only through collective action and genuine commitment that we can create a supportive environment where youth can truly flourish.

Safe Hopeful Healthy provides numerous opportunities and spaces, not only for youth to have platforms or be heard but also to engage in conversations with peers and experts who can support them on a journey toward finding peace and healing. SHH currently offers youth-led positions on the website, brotherhood circles, and in school interventions. Recently, they conducted dialogues with Scotlandville Magnet High School.

References:Jones, S. M., & Bouffard, S. M. (2012). Social and emotional learning in schools: From programs to strategies. Social Policy Report, 26(4), 1-33.

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Program Manager-Partnerships