Indy Youth Empowerment Challenge

The Indy Youth Empowerment Challenge was inspired by a group of students at Warren Central High School. After losing two loved ones to gun violence in May of 2017, these students decided to stand against youth violence and started a growing social movement called We LIVE Indy.  As demonstrated by We LIVE Indy and other inspiring youth initiatives throughout Indianapolis, empowered youth can have an incredible impact on their community and future. Yet, all too often youth are not even involved in the conversation. Youth are an important component of community development, and crave recognition as equal contributors in shaping a just society (Helgeson & Schneider, 2015). When youth become engaged in community activities they develop effective leadership skills and a sense of purpose (Brennan, Barnett and McGrath, 2009). Empowering youth within a community also reduces traditional problem behaviors (Helgeson & Schneider, 2015). Using a people-centered approach, the Indy Youth Empowerment Challenge brought together existing conversations and a diverse set of voices through a four-month innovation process:
  • INQUIRE (February): Understanding the barriers and catalysts to youth empowerment
  • IDEATE (March): Brainstorming ideas
  • INVESTIGATE (April): Turning ideas into solutions
  • IMPACT (May): Preparing for implementation
While the youth voice was amplified throughout the challenge, a diversity of ages and perspectives representing youth, education, community, business, faith, and government were encouraged to participate. The Indy Youth Empowerment Challenge has multiple goals. First, through purposeful conversations, we strive to collectively discuss youth empowerment in Indianapolis. Second, a diverse set of voices must not only participate in the conversations, but also be heard. Third, as open and inclusive dialogue can lead to deeper, and ultimately, stronger relationships, an increased sense of community might result. Fourth, solutions that involve and/or are driven by youth will come out of the process.

Questions? You can subscribe to our newsletter and/or email [email protected]. Find out more about our Challenge Champions!


Thanks to our challenge sponsors:

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