Vision & Goals | Rationale | History

Youth Infusion builds giant maps to try to understand the complexity of organizational decision-making.

Youth Infusion envisions a world where young people have a meaningful say in all decisions that affect their lives. In this world, the organizations and institutions charged with making decisions for youth make decisions with youth. Together, young people and adults co-construct communities where all members grow and thrive.

Youth Infusion achieves this vision by partnering with youth-serving organizations to create a participatory culture that fosters sustained youth-adult engagement and intergenerational change. 

Success is measured by the concrete changes we see: changes in the ways organizations do business, changes in youth-adult relationships, changes in young people and adults' perceptions and skills, and most importantly, changes in community health, safety, and well-being.

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The youth-adult partnership model sees youth and adults as equal, valued citizens and community stakeholders. Young people are not just future decision-makers, but today's leaders too. Empowering youth to identify and respond to community needs helps them to become empathetic, reflective  change-agents. Youth engagement directly benefits the young person and the communities of which that young person is a part. Decisions made with rather than for young people are more likely to be embraced, adopted, and embedded into everyday practice. When youth and adults partner together, social connectedness is enhanced and the potential for social change is ignited. Social connectedness not only facilitates better decision-making, but also fosters improved health, safety, and overall well-being. In other words, infusing youth into community organizations initiates a cycle of thriving!


To read more about the Youth Infusion model, download our Conceptual Framework.

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Youth Infusion started nine years ago in Austin, Texas. A group of first-year high school students realized that youth were not involved in designing programs aimed at youth. Youth anti-tobacco and anti-drug campaigns sounded as if they were written by adults, and were typically laughed at in classrooms and in school hallways. Youth Infusion first addressed the gap between youth as passive beneficiaries and youth as active decision-makers by hosting a community conference for 300 people. Both youth and adults received training on how to work together to more effectively reduce youth smoking and drug use.

Over the last three years, Youth Infusion has expanded its market and initiated its own internal reorganization process. Youth Infusion now takes a holistic approach to health and well-being, working with organizations involved in youth development, community development, and service-learning. In the last year alone, Youth Infusion designed over 10 youth-advocacy trainings and provided consultation services to five organizations, including two state government health departments.

This is an exciting time to become a part of Youth Infusion, whether as a client or a student staff member. Clients have the opportunity to shape our general training tools and benefit from tailored services and programs. Click on What We Do to learn how Youth Infusion can help your organization!

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