Youth Engagement, Voice, and Action Toolkit

When adult allies conceptualize youth as assets—and youth have power to participate fully, a program is more likely to succeed.

Are youth considered partners in their own educational journey in your school(s)? How might youth and adults work collaboratively to improve schools and communities? Do educators see students as assets to efforts to improve our schools(s) or merely recipients of the work and decisions of adults?

NAF has compiled Youth Engagement, Voice, and Action resources for educators and partners who want to ensure the presence of spaces within schools and academies for youth-centered approaches to learning and decision-making that make for more equitable learning experiences, environments, and outcomes.

Increasing Youth Engagement and Voice

NAF has compiled this summary of literature, practical considerations, and readiness tools and resources to help educators:

  • learn about and examine youth engagement and voice in our classrooms, academies, and communities
  • inform planning and implementation of approaches – like Participatory Action Research (PAR) to foster youth-adult collaboration for more equitable and effective learning conditions and outcomes.

NAF Youth Engagement Readiness Tool

Use the NAF Youth Engagement Readiness Tool to help your organization rate its youth engagement practices and understand its areas of strength and areas for improvement.


Watch the videos below to learn more about the importance of youth engagement in schools and communities and how Participatory Action Research (PAR) can provide the framework needed to create a more youth-centered learning environment.

Youth Engagement + PAR 101​

Want to learn about PAR with Youth? This video introduces you to the Participatory Action Research with Young People. It provides an overview of PAR and how to use it to support youth engagement.

What does it mean to be an Adult Ally in Youth PAR?​

Who are Adult Allies and what do they do? This video identifies the roles adults can play as allies in PAR projects with youth. It identifies the roles of adult allies and the characteristics of positive allyship.

How can we successfully implement PAR with Young People?​

Are you interested in engaging youth in a participatory action research program? This video walks you through what works and what doesn’t when implementing PAR. Learn about the Factors and Barriers to Successful PAR Implementation and review side-by-side graphics that summarize these key considerations.

Are you READY for youth PAR?​

What does it take for a school or community to be ready to implement Youth PAR? This video outlines key elements of organizational readiness for launching PAR with young people. A PAR readiness tool is also presented.