Youth building a little free library

Six Resources for Youth Engagement


Serving children and youth is a core part of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s work. From school- and clinic-based mental health services to programs such as the Youth Leadership Initiative, we work to provide young people with the support they need to develop into current and future leaders and effective community members.

Meaningful youth engagement in school, activities, social issues and the community can benefit their development, reduce mental health needs and benefit the community as a whole. How can we engage youth in a meaningful way? Wilder Research library staff have compiled links to six sites that explore effective youth engagement.

1. Working with Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts to Promote Youth Engagement

CYCC Network
This report explores how different youth engagement strategies are being used to help children and youth in the most challenging of contexts nurture resilience, prevent mental health problems and build a special place for themselves in the collective life of their communities.

2. Involving Youth
Youth involvement can benefit organizations and their programs as well as the youth themselves. Programs that are developed in partnership with youth are more likely to be effective at engaging the population and, therefore, to have a greater impact. This website lists suggestions and resources for involving youth in a meaningful way.

3. Engaging Youth in Community Decision Making
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Young people are key to effective community decision making and positive outcomes for local residents. This publication explores principles and strategies for engaging youth and young adults in decisions that affect them and the well-being of their communities.

4. The Positive Effects of Youth Community EngagementThe Positive Effects of Youth Community Engagement
A research report on the interaction between youth engagement and positive development. Youth engagement is defined as "meaningful participation and sustained involvement of a young person in an activity, with a focus outside of him or herself." Empowering youth and allowing them the opportunity to participate in the community has shown to benefit their development greatly.

5. Keys to Quality Youth Development
University of Minnesota, Extension Research
Background on the factors that need to be in place in order to facilitate effective youth development and engagement.

6. Youth Participation and Engagement, Indicators and Performance Levels

New York Afterschool Alliance

Tools to rate the quality and effectiveness of youth engagement programs.


The Wilder Library provides information, resources and services to employees of the Wilder Foundation. Library staff conduct research on a wide variety of topics including housing and homelessness, education, health and mental health services, and aging.