Developing and Adapting Youth Programming

Lisa Golda, Positive Youth Development Educator

Extension’s mission is to serve all WI residents by providing relevant, actionable, and culturally responsive educational programs and services. Centering stakeholders’ voices at the start of program development is key to fulfilling this mission. We are currently developing new youth programming / adapting existing programming to better serve all Sheboygan county youth. Since starting her position July 27, 2021, Positive Youth Development Educator Lisa Sanderson has reached out to and/or met with 35 community leaders and organizations serving underrepresented youth and/or adults to inform future youth programming, and to rekindle former/ found new partnerships. Members of the Hmong community are highly receptive to partnership and ongoing communication after many years of declining connection with UW-Extension. Based on this and other research, we have identified potential priorities that align with Extension’s Positive Youth Development program missions. (1) Youth express a desire for inclusive high school curriculums (civic engagement). (2) There is a need for cultural competency content for White youth. (3) There are mental health and dual identity concerns in the Hmong community. (4) Homelessness, drug use, and sex trafficking are not adequately acknowledged and addressed, in part because – (5) There is a lack of a central referral source for all Sheboygan County service organizations, especially one designed for youth lacking parental/other adult support in locating the many organizations attempting to meet their needs.

Our next steps are to continue listening sessions and gathering information to confirm whether this feedback is echoed by other community members and to proceed with relationship building and cross-referrals already in progress.