Phase 4

Establishing Trust and
Connection

It’s time to create a foundation for collaborative learning
experiences!

Whether you are designing curriculum or trying to better understand the youth experience in 2023 and beyond, you want to cultivate an environment that honors, affirms, and supports the lived experience of those you are partnered with. In this phase, let’s explore some of the ways that youth practitioners from BUILD.org think about building meaningful relationships with youth. 

Objectives

STEP 1/ Define Roles and Share Your Power

Begin by clearly defining roles within the learning community, ensuring that responsibilities are shared and distributed equitably across generations, races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Fostering an environment of shared power promotes inclusivity, recognizing the diverse strengths and contributions each individual brings to the collaborative learning experience.

Take into account the preferences, interests, and skills of the potential youth participants. Consider conducting surveys or interviews to understand their areas of expertise and interest, helping you tailor the group structure to maximize participant engagement. This approach ensures that the selected format resonates with the youth audience, fostering enthusiasm and commitment to the co-design process.

Implement decision-making processes that are inclusive and involve input from individuals in your Youth Advisory group. This ensures that the power-sharing structure is not only defined but is actively practiced, allowing for a range of perspectives to shape the direction and decisions within the learning community.

Related videos to check out: 

  • Creating Space for Co-design (Marisol)
  • Leading BIPOC Youth with Love and Care (Cindy)
  • Authenticity and Vulnerability (Lydia)

Foster an environment of transparent communication, clearly articulating the purpose and expectations associated with each defined role. Providing young people with a clear understanding of their responsibilities and the impact of their contributions enhances their sense of ownership and empowerment within the learning community. The aim is to share power… How might you share power? Think about the language used, who is talking the most, how you set group norms and how you align on your responsibilities and values.

Step 2/ Create a Brave Space

Establish a brave space where authenticity and vulnerability are not only encouraged but also modeled by educators. This approach cultivates a climate where everyone feels safe to express themselves genuinely, fostering deeper connections and a sense of trust within the learning community.

Establish effective communication and collaboration with relevant departments, including operations, finance, and human resources. Engage these departments in discussions about the budget requirements for the co-design project, seeking their support and alignment with the goals of the initiative. A collaborative approach ensures that budgeting considerations are integrated seamlessly into operations and that necessary approvals and processes are followed.

Clearly communicate the expectations and norms for creating a brave space to young people. Providing a set of guidelines ensures that everyone understands the importance of authenticity and vulnerability, fostering an environment where individuals feel empowered to express themselves without fear of judgment.

Related videos to check out: 

  • The Big Picture of Setting up Sessions (Kim)
  • Creating Space for Co-design (Marisol)
  • Leading BIPOC Youth with Love and Care (Cindy)
  • Authenticity and Vulnerability (Lydia)

Young people are more likely to engage in a brave space when they witness a consistent commitment to openness and genuine expression. This means that youth and adults will need to be willing to share stories and others should be actively listening and building off of ideas.
Building trust over time by intentionally focusing on relationships establishes a foundation for a safe and brave learning environment.

Related videos to check out: 

  • Creating Space for Co-design (Marisol)
  • Leading BIPOC Youth with Love and Care (Cindy)
  • Authenticity and Vulnerability (Lydia)

STEP 3/ Meet learners where they’re at

Acknowledge and celebrate the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of the youth, ensuring that the educational journey respects and builds upon their individual starting points. This may mean you have to plan multiple ways to draw out stories, give lots of think time and support learners in sharing by individually checking in. 
Tailor the learning experience to meet the participants at their current levels of knowledge and understanding, recognizing that young people come from different environments. This underscores the importance of creating inclusive spaces that foster a sense of belonging for all participants.

Establish effective communication and collaboration with relevant departments, including operations, finance, and human resources. Engage these departments in discussions about the budget requirements for the co-design project, seeking their support and alignment with the goals of the initiative. A collaborative approach ensures that budgeting considerations are integrated seamlessly into operations and that necessary approvals and processes are followed.

Create an environment that explores and honors different learning styles. Provide diverse learning pathways, resources, and activities that cater to individual learning styles, allowing each participant to engage with the material at their own pace and in a way that aligns with their unique background (i.e., Have documents or slides that help guide the conversation; give think time before asking folks to answer.) 


Related videos to check out: 

  • Participation Strategies for Quiet Youth (Lydia)
  • The Big Picture of Setting up Sessions (Kim)
  • Authenticity and Vulnerability (Lydia)

Develop learning materials that are culturally responsive and inclusive. Acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives by integrating content that reflects various cultural identities, from race to age to gender.
This approach ensures that the educational journey resonates with the experiences of the youth, fostering a more meaningful experience.

 

Related videos to check out: 

  • Creating Space for Co-design (Marisol)
  • Leading BIPOC Youth with Love and Care (Cindy)
  • Authenticity and Vulnerability (Lydia)

STEP 4/ Focus on Strengths of working with BIPOC youth

When working with students of color, you must be aware of some of the messages they have received from society. Unfortunately, we believe and see evidence that racism is true. Many students of color are from communities that have been marginalized due to systemic oppression. From our experience, these youth are brilliant, funny, creative, kind and the list goes on and on. 

We want to be careful and cautious to approach working with BIPOC youth; honor and affirm their identity, their communities; think about how to frame the experience so that you are building on strengths and assets while also recognizing that at times, you may need to explicitly help them understand what systems we are working in or against in order to improve them.

Conduct a thorough assessment of the individual motivators of the youth participants. Understand what personally drives them and what they find rewarding. This could involve surveys, interviews, or informal discussions to gather insights into their preferences, interests, and aspirations. Individual motivators can vary widely, and tailoring incentives to align with these motivations increases their effectiveness.

Develop cultural competence and sensitivity to the experiences, perspectives, and challenges faced by BIPOC youth. (This often means you start with yourself; reflect on the biases you may or may not hold.) Understand the societal messages they may have received and approach your role with an awareness of systemic oppression. Create an inclusive and affirming environment that honors their identity and communities.

Related videos to check out: 

  • Creating Space for Co-design (Marisol)
  • Leading BIPOC Youth with Love and Care (Cindy)
  • Authenticity and Vulnerability (Lydia)

Give careful consideration to how you represent, affirm, support, and show value for BIPOC youth. Embrace a strengths-based approach when working with BIPOC youth. Recognize and build upon their inherent brilliance, creativity, and kindness. Acknowledge the resilience within their communities and foster an atmosphere that highlights their strengths and assets, contributing to a positive and empowering learning experience.

Related videos to check out: 

  • Creating Space for Co-design (Marisol)
  • Leading BIPOC Youth with Love and Care (Cindy)
  • Authenticity and Vulnerability (Lydia)
  • Participation Strategies for Quiet Youth (Lydia)

STEP 5/ engage youth

Utilize a variety of tactics and tools to actively engage youth in the learning process, emphasizing the importance of cultural relevance. This approach involves incorporating interactive activities, technology-based tools, and collaborative platforms that not only empower participants to contribute to session planning but also ensure that the learning environment is culturally responsive.

By aligning with the preferences and interests of the youth, educators enhance the cultural relevance of the educational experience, fostering a more meaningful and inclusive learning journey for all participants. Here are a few methods of engagement.

Conduct a thorough assessment of the individual motivators of the youth participants. Understand what personally drives them and what they find rewarding. This could involve surveys, interviews, or informal discussions to gather insights into their preferences, interests, and aspirations. Individual motivators can vary widely, and tailoring incentives to align with these motivations increases their effectiveness.

Incorporate icebreakers, discussion questions and topics that allow students to be introspective about their own identity. How did their family culture shape them – for better and for worse? How have their relationships with their friends influenced who they are and who they want to be? Spending time getting to know youth, engaging them in reflective discussions, will help you foster a strong community where they can be their best critical thinkers, addressing real-world challenges.

Related videos to check out: 

  • Creating Space for Co-design (Marisol)

What technology-based tools and platforms are youth vibing with? Leverage interactive digital tools, collaborative online platforms, or multimedia resources that not only enhance engagement but also cater to the technological fluency of the participants, creating a more dynamic and culturally responsive learning environment. Watch the videos below for some of our favorites.


Related videos to check out: 

  • Participation Strategies for Quiet Youth (Lydia)
  • The Big Picture of Setting up Sessions (Kim)

STEP 6/ Engage in Reflective Practices

Hold yourself and your team accountable to the youth you partner with. Ensure you meet your objectives while also checking in with youth about their experience. Regularly assess the program’s alignment with objectives and use feedback loops to adjust and improve. This not only holds educators accountable to the youth but also reinforces a culture of continuous improvement and responsiveness to the evolving needs of the learning community.

Conduct a thorough assessment of the individual motivators of the youth participants. Understand what personally drives them and what they find rewarding. This could involve surveys, interviews, or informal discussions to gather insights into their preferences, interests, and aspirations. Individual motivators can vary widely, and tailoring incentives to align with these motivations increases their effectiveness.

Within sessions, design reflection opportunities, such as regular end-of-session reflections or group discussions to discuss how the session went, the timing of your meet-ups and any asynchronous assignments given.
Provide prompts or guiding questions that encourage participants to reflect on their experiences, insights they are sharing, and areas for growth. Consistent reflection fosters a thoughtful and intentional review of the Youth Advisor experience.

Related videos to check out:

  • How to Stay Flexible, but Also on Course (Kim)

Evaluation and assessment are absolutely critical to not only proving the efficacy and value of your program but also ensuring you’re delivering the best program possible to students and collecting valuable information for the larger K-12 ecosystem.

In Phase 6, you will discover tools, resources, and ways to think about how to produce insights reports. This data-driven approach enables educators to make informed decisions, identify areas for improvement, and adapt the program to better meet the evolving needs of the learning community.

Tutorials and Trainings

Kim Vinh

The Big Picture of 
Setting up Sessions 

4:07 min

Marisol Burgueño​

Creating Space 
for Co-design

6:22 min

Kim Vinh

How to Stay Flexible, 
but Also on Course 

1:37 min

Lydia Phillips

Authenticity and Vulnerability

5:45 min

Cindy Pineda

Leading BIPOC Youth with Love and Care

6:50 min

Lydia Phillips

Participation Strategies for Quiet Youth

6:13 min

Playbook Phases

Discovery

Defining the direction and your goals

Recruitment

Finding and preparing the youth

Session Planning

Outlining the scope and sequence for the work ahead

Building Relationships

Best practices to ensure you are starting from a foundation of relationship-building

Implementation

Running your weekly (or daily or monthly) groups to capture insights, experiences and stories

Evaluation

Ensure you met your objectives and if you can hold yourself accountable to those engaged. Reflect and prepare a summary of learning or insights.

Next up:

Implementation

Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

Fill out this form to receive a free sample of our curriculum and to receive occasional email updates on how to bring BUILD to your community.

VIDEO PREPARATION GUIDELINES

HOW TO RECORD

1. iPhone, iPad, Zoom and Loom are all choices of recording tools for their video presentation 
2. Record with both students and their presentation in view
3. Record horizontally for the best view of the students and their presentation
4. Follow Presentation Diagram to the Right

PRESENTATION TIPS.

- Make eye contact with the camera
- Notecards may be used as cue cards
•Pro Tip: Notecards should avoid having a full script
- Even when you are not speaking, don’t forget the camera is still recording!
•Be aware of your body language while you and your business partners are speaking
- Everyone has an opportunity to speak
- Professional dress is encouraged
- Practice makes perfect
•Practice how you will transition from each speaker
•Project your voice when you speak​

Follow positioning format Above

Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

Fill out this form to receive a free sample of our curriculum and to receive occasional email updates on how to bring BUILD to your community.