Not only did it give me something productive to do over the summer months, but
it opened up so many opportunities and possibilities for me. It gave me more
incentive to keep working for my community, especially for youth. I learned
what the real world is like. I was able to interact with adults on a one-on-one
basis. I improved my communication skills greatly and gained more
self-confidence. I learned what is and is not out there for young people.
- Brenda Robertson,
YouthMapper from Columbus, Indiana
Community YouthMapping is ..........
Community YouthMapping is yougn people canvassing their neighborhoods in search
of places to go and things to do. Young people called mappers canvass their
neighborhoods, using a survey tool, to gather baseline information on the
resources available for young people, children and families in their
communities. The Center defines resources as places to go, opportunities and
things to do.
Coordinated by a local public/private/non-profit partnership and led by a local
community based institution, the Community YouthMapping effort is a lot more
than just a project. Community YouthMapping is a way to mobilize youth and
adults in the community around finding the resources and opportunities that
exist in a community. Young people in many cities have identified a host of
resources that may not be found in traditional directories. Community
YouthMapping is also a great way to identify gaps in available resources.
Measures of Success
The Center for Youth Development and Policy Research (the Center) has
recognized that when communities provide the necessary support for the
Community YouthMapping process they can achieve some very fundamental outcomes:
Use of Data -
engaging the community in a collection of new data can provide a comprehensive
look at what community resources really exist for children, youth and families,
from a youth perspective. Local planning gropus have used CYM data to compare
crime data, school data, grant making data, youth space data, employment and
economic development data to the availability of resources, accessibility of
places and times that these resources provide opportunities.
Easy Access to Data -
Community YouthMapping provides a host of user friendly ways for the broader
community to gain access to data on resources. No one
person/organization/sector owns the data: the coordinating partnership will
ensure the up keep and maintenance of the data.
Youth/Adult Involvement -
engaging the community in shifting the attitudes of many who do not believe
that young people are concerned about and committed to the well being of the
communities in which they live. Community YouthMapping is a developmental
approach to information collection on resources that requires meaningful
participation by youth and adults in a community. Young people are the key
stakeholders in the planning, collection, data entry, analysis and
dissemination of this information. Adults provide technical, political and
personal support to youth as they collect, analyze and present the data.
Community YouthMapping Can Lead to
The Center recognizes the many ways in which a community can distribute
resource information. The deeper question a community has to ask is: "What are
the most accessible means to share information on resources to ensure that it
reaches youth, parents, non-connected adults, politicians, and policymakers?"
Some strategies that allow easy access to and easy maintenance of the data:
similar to bank automated teller machines, YouthStations are conveniently
located, user-friendly places where young people can access information.
a mobile electronic information dissemination system designed to allow young
people to have access to information about services, opportunities, and
resources in their communities. Situated on a bus that brings information to
disconnected communities, YouthLink will utilize two complementary
dissemination methods: 1) Community YouthMapping information will be linked to
a web site that contains information on local resources for youth. 2)
information is entered by youth onto a Geographic Information System (GIS)
database system that will also be available on the bus.
Local YouthLines -
local YouthLines connect the information gathered through Community
YouthMapping to a geographically-based computer system. Local YouthLines are
24 hour, 7 day a week, toll free, confidential telephone services. YouthLines
provide callers the option to talk to caring peers, locate crisis intervention
services, or find out what services their community offers.
New Youth Development/Community Indicators
Many communities across the country collect deficit data on young people.
While there are many people, policies and funding systems focused on prevention
and treatment of youth problems, the Center believes that a majority of
Americans do not relate to the majority of statistics currently collected and
reported on. These data elements, indicators and outcomes are viewed as
measures related to "others", "those people"; in other words, "not me, my
teenager or my family". There should always be an intentional focus on
critical circumstances surrounding poor and disenfranchised communities and
families in this country. The Center also believes there should be equal,
intentional focus on the positive growth and development of
youth so that every parent, policy maker and elected official see a practical
data link to themselves, their teenagers, their families and communities. For
many communities, Community YouthMapping has raised a new set of data elements
focused on the existing supports and opportunities for growth and development
Community YouthMapping is a project of the Academy for Educational
Development/Center for Youth Development and Policy Research. For more
information on Community YouthMapping please contact Raul Ratcliffe at