At AKA we are so fortunate to work on projects that involve youth. Recently, one of our client’s funders made a decision that youth needed to lead a component of the evaluation. I thought about all of the youth that we work with and the importance of capturing the impact of a program based on the insider perspective vs. the outsider perspective.
This summer youth engaged in the evaluation process. They took photographs of significant events that occurred throughout the program. They wrote storyboards about what these events meant to them and the photos captured their emotion, smile, and connection.
These youth evaluation results were different than what the funding agency expected, but exactly what we needed. Storyboards highlighted the connection between youth, the program, and the community. They demonstrated what youth enjoyed and how they felt during the activities. In their own words and writing they described a story telling process that was new and exciting.
We believe that there are many pathways to successful evaluation. Anyone can complete an evaluation or a survey by simply checking a box or filling in a blank. But it takes someone special to take photos, create stories, and choose words that tell a story to make an impact.
We live in a changing world. Evaluators and researchers have an opportunity to embrace these changes and celebrate the involvement of youth in the evaluation. Until next time. AK