What Motivates Youth to Take Action?

Cheryl Stephens Active + Engaged Residents, Advocacy


We all know that youth activism is a growing force for social change and builds organization skills. Over time there has been great scholarship devoted to measuring the social impact and building of cultural or social movements and the later affects that participation made on their personal development. However an article published in the Journal of Applied Development Psychology goes deeper; researchers dissect the motivation behind youth activism, which previously was very little known.

The results of the research found that marginalized youth seek out youth activist groups to find spaces of refuge and have a strong sense of purpose. Youth activities program participation also helps marginalized youth in struggling communities take initiative to advocate for social justice directly on their own behalf.

Discover more from Reasons youth engage in activism programs: Social justice or sanctuary? and learn how the Heinz Endowments programs played an important role in the research!


Know a teen in 9th-12th grade looking to make a difference in the realm of government and interested in opportunities to learn first-hand about civics, government, philanthropy, youth organizing, community involvement, women’s history, and leadership? Tell them about GirlGov at the Women & Girls Foundation!