Diversity is a highly important aspect to foster at any organization. Encouraging different types of people from all walks of life to participate in your programming will not only help increase diversity, but also bring the collective experiences of those individuals to your organization. Youth programs, in particular, are especially important. They can offer the youth in the area a safe and educational experience that can guide future interactions and keep them out of trouble.
Here’s how to create youth programs to improve diversity and inclusion.
Assess the Needs in Your Community
Depending on where your organization is located, there may be different programming needs. Survey your community to assess what the interests of youth in your area are and what’s lacking. For example, if martial arts programming is missing or underrepresented to the community, it may be a great option to provide. Also, be sure to see what resources are already available in your community or if there existing providers/instructors who you can collaborate with. This will help your organization save some money, since every penny counts!
Design the Program
Who are you serving in the community? Which age groups are you trying to attract? Will you need to hire volunteers or qualified staff? Answering these questions can help you define your program, what type of people you might need to recruit, and how much time and money you’ll need to invest into the program. To ensure diversity within your programming, it is important to understand the needs of your community and to design your programming based on those needs.
Plan How It’s Managed
As with any service offering, creating diverse youth programs needs to be properly managed to succeed. Finding a reliable management team with whom you establish clear roles, as well as defined policies and procedures, will help you get your program off the ground. Staff members who have had the most experience in working with youth will be your first choice for spearheading your new programming. An emphasis on fostering inclusion will be a key focus for your youth programs.
Review and Evaluate
Constantly reviewing and evaluating your program is an important way to ensure that you are attracting diverse individuals to your organization. Gathering feedback from participants, your staff, as well as any parents who you can speak with help you better adjust and improve your programming. Since these programs have enormous potential to influence and benefit youth development in your community, it should be of utmost importance to ensure that your programming is effective.
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