YPP Network Description

The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

Service & Activism in the Digital Age: Supporting Youth Engagement in Public Life
by Ellen Middaugh
January 1, 2012
Throughout history, there have been many impressive examples of youth leadership and engagement in volunteerism, activism, and politics. However, the majority of US youth are less engaged, and thus under-represented, compared to older adults in many of the civic and political institutions that regulate and coordinate public life. Adolescents and young adults both have the capacity and the motivation to be effective civic actors, but need opportunities and support to do so. Two strands of youth programming--Youth Led Organizing and Service learning--have emerged as effective models for supporting youth civic and political engagement and identity development. These approaches to civic education pair civic and political knowledge and skills development with opportunities to collaboratively define and work to address civic and political issues.