Ohio University

Conceptualizing Adolescents/ce White Paper

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Adult allies throughout the state participated in a study group to deepen their knowledge about the theories that inform youth-led programs. Based on this knowledge, they developed white papers designed to provide information on core content areas that are critical for adult allies to understand in order to be effective facilitators of youth-led programs.

Adolescence is an evolving area of study and curiosity. According to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (2014) nearly half of the world’s population is age 25 or younger, yet across disciplines professionals do not share a consistent definition or approach to adolescence either as a phase of life (adolescence) or as individuals (adolescents). Adult allies within youth-led programs have a wide range of ideas about adolescence as a period of development, as well as varying ideas about adolescents themselves. This is a particular challenge in the field of youth-led programming where youth have the opportunity to be change agents in their community and need adult allies to support them in a consistent manner. As youth-led programs in Ohio continue to develop and expand it is important for all adult allies to be knowledgeable on the foundation of how young people are conceptualized.

Click here [PDF] to read the full report.