On Their Level: Tips for Recruitment and Engagement

We asked our online audience and Advisory Board members to share tips and insights for recruiting youth, building engaging programs, and educating others who are new to the field. We learned a lot.

Below are the insights we collected. Keep these in mind and check them off, if needed, the next time you’re recruiting and designing programs to engage youth.

10 Tips to Improve Your Youth Recruitment and Engagement Activities

  • Blue starsListen to youth recommendations about program design by engaging them around what they want to hear, see, or experience.
  • Meet youth where they are in their community. Create spaces where young people feel loved and build friendships and trust.
  • Create programs where young people are affirmed, can be themselves, and have their basic needs met.
  • Employ peer leaders, near peers, and adult facilitators who are representative of youth being served.
    • Create community among the young people, mentors, and facilitators.
  • Train everyone on the team on how language has an impact on youth (avoiding reverse-stigma/youth shaming).
    • Use materials with the look, feel, vibe, and language used by youth (be flexible!).
    • Employ a cultural intelligence approach.
  • Red megaphoneBe honest and compassionate about what you communicate and be prepared to connect with young people by sharing your own story.
  • Provide incentives to engage participation and add value.
    • Provide transportation (e.g., bus passes, ridesharing vouchers).
    • Use pop quizzes, activities designed around choices, reward responses.
  • Fuse education and programming with personal expression and self-reflection. Provide space for youth to create awareness through the arts and other creative outlets.
  • Leverage social media for outreach, marketing, and education.
  • Yellow screen with chat boxesCreate open access, safe spaces that might include harm reduction practices, co-blended recreation, and trauma healing programs.
Headshot of Karen Murtfeldt, Community Engagement Specialist
Katelyn Dore

In this episode, we meet Karen Murtfeldt, a Community Engagement Specialist at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, who uses Snapchat to engage youth beyond in-person health education.

Shellita Dillon-Coleman
Narita Ghumman

Shellita Dillon-Coleman, founder of She’s In-4 Tainment, shares how to educate and entertain youth.

Page last updated: June 2018