24 August 2009

Participle test driving a new youth services model

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Participle, the UK social design consultancy, is doing on-the-ground testing of a new model for universal youth services. According to Sarah Schulman, it’s “less of a service, and more of a wholesale approach for community & youth development,” which they call Loops.

“Loops is designed to expand young people’s sense of purpose and possibility. It’s based on one key premise: young people need compelling reasons to invest in themselves, their communities and their futures. Existing youth services are based on a different premise: young people need places to go and things to do to stay out of trouble. The main difference? Loops is developmental, not diversionary.

Loops works by connecting young people to surprising experiences in the community. Young people work with a reflector—a person who enables young people to identify & build on their strengths & interests—to locate experiences in the community that expose them to new ways of living and doing. Experiences might last anywhere from an hour to several weeks; they might be a behind the scenes tour of a local restaurant and conversation with a chef to a week taking on a role or completing a project for a business or community group. People called catalysts are up-skilled to work with big and small businesses, community and faith groups to extract great experiences. Young people can take on both the role of reflector and catalyst.”

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See also these two backgrounders:
SNAP Process
The Security Needs Assessment Protocol – Improving Operational Effectiveness through Community Security

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