Piedmont Housing Alliance remains committed to helping the Youth Leadership Team of Friendship Court effectively provide input for the redevelopment of their community. This team of highly motivated and engaged youth is embracing the challenges in front of them aided by Piedmont Housing and a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
Already this fall, there have been two events involving the Youth Leadership Team and their quest to learn how to effect positive changes where they live. The youth team is participating in several sessions with students from the University of Virginia’s Curry School as part of the Curry School Youth-Nex initiative to promote effective youth development. The most recent meeting was spent learning about Youth Participatory Evaluation (YPE)—how to effectively evaluate proposed changes to the community and to assess how and to what extent current programs are working. The goal is for the youth to learn how to be informed evaluators as they work with their community and gather input regarding certain aspects of the redevelopment.
During a recent session, the youth and the graduate students discussed their current understanding of research and evaluation. Mark Yu, one of the graduate students involved said, “Rarely do we see youth included in discussions of community issues and change. This is unfortunate given that youth are probably the most affected by changes in their community. My goal is to support and empower youth at Friendship Court to be part of the process of change in their community. Using a Youth Participatory Evaluation framework, my hope is to engender leadership, build trust, and inspire learning among the youth residents at Friendship Court.”
The second event involving the Youth Leadership Team dealt directly with the physical environment of Friendship Court. The resident youth met in their backyard with Todd Niemeier the director of the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville. “Farmer Todd” heads the community garden project at Friendship Court. He led the team on a tour around the terraced garden walls and they talked about the importance of the garden to the community. They also discussed the next harvest (Swiss chard) which will be available to residents during Market Day at Friendship Court on November 18.
As part of their time in the garden with Farmer Todd, the youth had time to reflect on their hopes for the future of the garden and to sketch some of those ideas for future discussion.
For more information on Youth-Nex, please visit: http://curry.virginia.edu/research/centers/youth-nex?utm_source=youth-nex&utm_medium=general&utm_campaign=youth%2Bnex.
For more information on the Partnership with U.Va. under the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, visit: http://piedmonthousingalliance.org/2016/03/08/jessie-ball-dupont-fund/.
For more about Farmer Todd and the Urban Agriculture Collective, visit https://uaccville.wordpress.com.