Social Justice Approach to Youth Engagement Fall 2021


9/9/2021 – 11/4/2021

You will be able to access online materials for the course beginning on September 9, 2021.


No cost for registrants from our region (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming), $160 for registrants from all other states, no cost for registering for the waitlist - payment arrangement will be made by staff if spot becomes available

Primary Competency

Cultural Competency Skills

Are you ready to be challenged to move your youth engagement work forward? Are you looking for actionable ways to advance equity in your community?

Social justice youth development combines intentional anti-oppressive practice with and for young people, with knowledge and skill building from youth development to support youth as they negotiate and disrupt the misuses of power in their lives. During this seven-week course, participants will be expected to critically analyze how power, privilege, and oppression operate in their own lives and participate in conversations regarding how they can disrupt systems of power that oppress young people. This course will offer a mix of critical reflection, skill-building, applied practice, and tools and resources that will enable participants to be an advocate for and with youth.

This online course simulates an in-person training environment by having all participants on screen via video. This allows for an engaging and interactive learning environment where you get to know the instructor and the other participants. Participation via video is required. We use the Zoom platform, which is free and easy. You can join via a computer with a webcam, a laptop, tablet, or your smartphone. We’re here to help - we’ll provide instructions and our session support team is available to walk you through setup if you’re new to this!



This course will take 8 weeks to complete.

  • Online course materials
  • 7 live sessions (Please put these sessions on your calendar)
  • Course schedule – Thursdays, 12:00-1:00pm
    • September 9th – Course shell opens on Canvas - NO SESSION
    • September 23rd – Session 1 (extra half-hour, 12:00-1:30pm MST)
    • September 30th – Session 2
    • October 7th – Session 3
    • October 14th – Session 4
    • October 21st – Session 5
    • October 28th – Session 6
    • November 4th – Session 7

Online course materials

  • You will have activities to do on your own between the live meetings.  The activities will include things like watching videos and reading.
  • There will be a short assignment to complete in preparation for each live session. (Live sessions go quickly. Doing the activities and assignments helps you use the time well.)

Live Sessions

  • A facilitator will lead guided discussions and activities related to the online content with you and your classmates.
  • A topic expert will also be on hand to answer questions and engage in the discussion.
  • Live sessions give you the opportunity to connect concepts of evidence-based decision making to your daily work.


  • You should receive 2 emails from us before the course begins.  Please email us at if they do not show up in your inbox (please check your spam folder, as well).
    • Registration confirmation – immediately after registering
    • Course welcome and instructions – 2 weeks before first live session


  • Live Sessions
    • You must join the Live Learning Sessions by video (an external webcam or built-in camera in your laptop, tablet, or smartphone).  Our staff can help you get set up if this is new for you.
  • Online course materials
    • You will be sent an invitation to the Learning Management System (Canvas) approximately 2 weeks before the first Live Learning Session.  You will need to sign in, do some activities and make sure that you know how to connect to the Live Learning Session.  Don’t worry about the technology!  We have staff to help you.  You’ll receive all the information you need once you log in.
Learning Objectives

By the end of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Summarize key social justice youth development practices from the literature.

  • Describe “adultism” and the way that operates in our culture and system.

  • Critique your organizational setting’s practice of community youth development and offer evidence-based recommendations for more youth participation.

  • Disrupt adultism through practicing being an ally for young people within your organization and community.

  • Execute lessons that are designed to engage youth in discussions related to social and health inequities and systemic approaches to community social action.

Length of Learning Opportunity
1.5 hour introductory session plus 6 one-hour live learning sessions - TOTAL 7.5 hours
Registration Information
Click on the green "Register Now" button at the top left of this page. You will need to be logged in or will need to create an account prior to registering for this training. Creating an account will not automatically register you for this training. You will need to re-open this page and register. Registration is limited to individuals from Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, or Wyoming. Please email with registration questions.
Presenter(s) and/or Content Experts

Heather is a youth engagement activist and scholar. As an activist, she has created over a dozen youth leadership groups and engaged teens in local, state, and federal policy advocacy. As a scholar, she is involved in a variety of community-engaged research and teaching activities. Heather earned her PhD at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. She has several peer-reviewed publications advancing the knowledge base for high-quality youth-adult partnerships. At 17, Heather learned the power of her own voice, and ever since she has been a stalwart advocate for supporting adults to engage youth authentically.

Geographic Relevance
Priority is given to individuals from Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, or Wyoming

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