In late 2019, we launched the Durham Youth Listening Project. We set out to hear from Durham’s young people about their needs and dreams, and about what they think about the resources in their communities. We wanted to understand what was and wasn’t working about Durham’s youth services and programs. We knew this would help us set some priorities about the most important things to work on in the Office on Youth. The project could also help guide the work of anyone working to advocate for and support young people in Durham.
We worked in partnership with our youth ambassadors, community partners, and project consultants to do community outreach and host many listening sessions. We spoke with hundreds of young people, their caregivers, and people who work with and support youth.
The project prioritized the voices of: youth of color; LGBTQ+ youth; immigrant/migrant youth; youth who are not working and not in school; and youth who have experienced economic hardships, houselessness, and interactions with law enforcement.
We took all we heard and wrote a report with recommendations. We are so excited to share the final report with you and look forward to working with you to make the recommendations a reality!
We want to make sure this isn’t a report that collects dust on a shelf. We’ll be sharing what we heard with lots of people across Durham, including young people, their families, service providers, and elected officials. We’re still figuring out ways to safely celebrate the project together in this time of COVID-19.
The findings have helped us set priorities as an office, and we’ve started working with other City and County departments on some of the recommendations. We’ll also be thinking about ways to hear from voices that were missing from this project.
We know we can’t address every recommendation, and plan to support group conversations and advocacy work around recommendations that the community is excited about.
As of April 2021, we’re excited to announce the 2021 Durham Youth Leadership Fund (DYLF)! With funding support from the Durham County Non-Profit Funding Program, the DYLF will fund up to $100,000 in grant awards for community-based projects that respond to the needs and dreams we heard about during the Youth Listening Project. Young people, community groups, and organizations are welcome to apply. More information about the DYLF here!
Stay connected with us as we roll out other information and ways to engage in the recommendations: