A family with two adults and six children of different ages posing together at a festival. Two of the children are holding signs on the left and right of the frame. The sign on the left says, #BullCityYouthSpeak. Bull City could be better for youth by..." with a response written in marker that is not legible in the photo. The sign on the right says "#BullCityYouthSpeak, Bull City is the best place for youth because..." with a response written in marker that is not legible in the photo. A URL appears at the bottom of each sign durhamnc.gov/youthspeak.
Hearing from families at CenterFest Arts Festival, September 2019

Durham's Youth Listening Project Has Launched!

Read on for some exciting project updates!

What’s the project all about?

The Office on Youth is talking with young people and their families, about what they think would make the Bull City a better place for young people. We are especially interested in hearing from youth of color, LGBTQ youth, immigrant/migrant youth and those who have experienced houselessness and interactions with law enforcement. 

Young people will help us create a list of recommendations for the City of Durham and Durham County to improve youth services and engage young people as decision makers. 

We're looking for youth ambassadors 

Are you 14-24 years old and passionate about community change in Durham?

Do you connect well with others?

Do you believe youth voices should be heard by Durham's decision makers? 

If yes, check out our call for youth ambassadors below and here! 

Deadline to respond is November 7, 2019.
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Building our team 

- After a long, intentional selection process, we welcomed our Strategies4Freedom consultants–a team of local leaders of color who specialize in education, design thinking, and family and youth engagement.

- The Office on Youth grew! They hired 3 new youth staff who are leading different parts of the youth listening project.

- We formed our youth-adult board, which includes adult and youth staff from the Office on Youth and community partners: Movement of Youth, the LGBTQ Center of Durham, and the Durham Housing Authority

- We had a kick off team retreat to get on the same page about goals, expectations and outcomes. We also learned about Durham’s history, how systemic racism impacts Durham youth and their families, and strategies for community engagement.
A group of people forming a circle, some sitting, some standing, and all engaged in discussion. One person is holding a poster board with discussion notes. Four large white poster boards appear in the foreground, placed on the ground, with discussion notes.
Kickoff team retreat, September 2019

Starting the conversation

Over the last couple of months, we went to 7 community events and asked youth:
  • What makes Durham a great place for young people?
  • What would make Durham a better place for young people?
We got hundreds of responses and are studying them to find themes to help guide the project. 
Two young people standing side by side under a tent at a festival, holding signs. The sign on the left says "#BullCityYouthSpeak, Bull City is the best place for youth because..." with handwritten text in marker that says "Progress don't stop! Change, change change! [heart shape]". The sign on the right says, "#BullCityYouthSpeak, Bull City could do better for youth by..." with handwritten text in marker that says "Support groups for the youth!". A URL appears at the bottom of each sign that says https://durhamnc.gov/youthspeak.
Hearing from youth at the Durham Pride Festival and Parade, September 2019

What’s next?

  • Getting our youth ambassadors on board
  • Hosting training sessions for all youth staff and building conversation guides
  • Reaching out to partners to plan and host listening sessions
  • Conducting listening sessions
Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks! 

The Youth Listening Project team
Twitter: @YouthSpeakDURM

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