In place-based education (PBE), youth have the opportunity to shape their realities and determine the course of their learning as they build their capacities as community leaders. Our team of Youth Ambassador students and teachers at the Detroit Institute of Technology (DIT) at Cody H.S., work together with staff from the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition to build community and infuse place-based education into the school curriculum. Students are engaged in a number of leadership roles as they engage with the community to identify its needs. They help decide the direction of class projects, mentor new students, and co-facilitate stewardship activities with adults.
In this article we aim to share the ideas, tools, and processes that we’ve found useful. This article was written by both youth and adults as part of a year-long intergenerational dialogue on youth voices. In it we purposefully highlight when youth speak so that their voices ring loud and clear. We are continually inspired by the belief that youth have a lot to teach us and together we have a lot to learn. At DIT, students speak from a lived experience that many educators across North America do not have, but would be wise to better understand.
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