Youth Infusion in Systems

This article by Adam F.C. Fletcher explores what Youth Infusion can look like in systems, including education, government, healthcare and more.

Youth Infusion is the idea that as humans in our society, young people must be viewed and treated as full and integral members of every system they are part of, and this graphic shows what is included…

A system is a set of things that work together to accomplish a goal. Young people today can be parts of many systems, including their homes, families, schools, neighborhoods, youth programs, and more. Youth Infusion is the idea that as humans in our society, young people must be viewed and treated as full and integral members of every system they are part of.

Education, government, families, the economy, and healthcare are all examples of systems.

Understanding Systems

Made by humans in order to deliver various functions, every society in every nation worldwide is made of systems. The economy, law enforcement, healthcare, religion, and public health are all systems.

Systems are made of many interconnected parts. There are eight elements in any system:

  1. Cause: Every system exists for a reason.
  2. Parts: Every system operates with different parts.
  3. Functions: There are ways that every system functions with.
  4. Roles: Whether passive or active, everybody has a job in the system.
  5. Flaws: Every system has problems, challenges and breaks.
  6. Redundancy: Systems can have unnecessary or backup parts.
  7. Organization: Every system has at least one beginning, middle and end.
  8. Additions: There are parts attached to systems.

An Example System

Think about schools. Schools are systems. This is a breakdown of each element of a system as we look at schools.

  1. Cause: Schools exist to support democracy, including the economy and politics.
  2. Parts: There are grade levels and topics throughout the school system.
  3. Functions: More than learning and teaching, there are social, administrative, and many other functions in public schools.
  4. Roles: Schools have specific roles for each person involved, sometimes named and often unnamed.
  5. Flaws: Every school all the time; there are no perfect schools.
  6. Redundancy: Summer schools and in-school suspension are redundancies in education; sometimes entire schools, teachers, or districts can be redundant.
  7. Organization: The hierarchal structure of the education system within a school and beyond the building are the organization.
  8. Additions: Along with the academic and cultural purpose of schools, there are additions to the education system including public health, social conditioning and more.

Youth Infusion can ensure that young people are meaningfully involved throughout systems instead of being tokenized, over-simplified, or otherwise excluded.

Understanding Youth Infusion

Youth Infusion is based in the idea that every young person is a full human being right now, and not simply an adult-in-the-making. It assumes that people value young people and want justice, equity, and possibilities for every child and youth in our society. Youth Infusion is a way to think about who, what, where, when, why, and how all young people can have meaningful roles throughout the places that impact them.

Understood through its parts, Youth Infusion affects three pillars of our lives:

  • Individuals—Every person has their own feelings, thoughts, ideas, and beliefs that form their attitudes towards young people.
  • Communities—Geography, proximity, relationships or otherwise define our culture, and every young person is part of at least a few different communities.
  • Organizations—These are formal entities or structures that serve young people include their families, schools, nonprofits, and other organizations.

These three pillars are the basis of Youth Infusion. There are many other aspects to understanding this approach, including Youth in Day-to-Day Operations, Intergenerational Reciprocity, Infusing the ‘Y’ in DEI, and more.

Youth Infusion in YOUR System

There are many layers in systems, and Youth Infusion can happen in every one from the personal level to the community level, and from the community level to the national and international levels – and all points in between!

Are you ready for Youth Infusion in YOUR system? Whether you work in a nonprofit organization, government agency, K-12 school, or run a counseling firm or consulting company, YOU can benefit from Youth Infusion. For more information about moving forward, contact us today!

Author: Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker, writer, trainer, researcher and advocate who researches, writes and shares about education, youth, and history.

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