Youth Empowerment and Volunteerism: Principles, Policies and Practices

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Without any doubt, youth are the future of the world. For any nation which hopes to thrive and develop, it is necessary to commit significant resources in facilitating youth development.

This book is a collection of papers presented at the International Conference on Youth Empowerment over the last four years. It explores the relationship between youth volunteerism and empowerment which is considered as an inherent cornerstone in the social and psychological growth for youth. Written by a team of experts on issues about youth, the book presents the various theories, models, paradigms and concepts related to youth empowerment and volunteerism. With selected examples in countries around the world, it also reveals to us how different cultures infuse their own history, language, mores, laws, policies, demographics, and socio-political infrastructures in facilitating youth empowerment and volunteerism.

Youth hold the key to the world of the future, and empowering youth is actually a human empowerment toward a better world of great hope. In this collection, one clearly sees how youth are empowered through volunteerism; given the chance to serve their communities, youth can indeed become responsible citizens of tomorrow.

Monit CHEUNG, Dan FERRAND-BECHMANN, Michael J. HOLOSKO, Melissa HUM, Guoping JIANG, Ping Kwong KAM, Marc LANGLOIS, Elaine S. C. LIU, T. Wing LO, Allen M. OMOTO, Malcom PAYNE, Edwin RISLER, Mark SNYDER, Songxing SU, Ngoh Tiong TAN, Michael UNGAR, Xiaodong YUE
Pub. Date
Dec 1, 2008
344 pages
152 x 229 mm

Youth studies have always been an important part of the curriculum design andacademic research of Department of Applied Social Studies of City University ofHong Kong. Over the years, the Department has successfully involved teachersand students to launch

Youth studies have always been an important part of the curriculum design andacademic research of Department of Applied Social Studies of City University ofHong Kong. Over the years, the Department has successfully involved teachersand students to launch a series of international and national cross-cultural learningand social service programmes. With the teachers of the department as the core,these networks of youthful activities finally rolled and grew to a bigger idea of YouthEmpowerment and it paved the road for the two international conferences to beheld in City University of Hong Kong for academics, practitioners as well as youngpeople to further gather together for sharing and conferencing. The two youthconferences are “International Conference on Youth Empowerment: A Cross-culturalExchange” held in 2004 and “2nd International Conference on Youth Empowerment:Empowering Youth through Volunteerism” held in 2006. The two conferencesreceived overwhelming support as attended by over 800 delegates from 14 countries.Today, the Department of Applied Social Studies continues to encourage studentsand teachers to stay in touch with the contacts they developed over the years and isstill running a volunteer training and servicing project for students in City University ofHong Kong — The City-youth Empowerment Project.

Subsequent to the two international conferences, we have collected eleven fulltext papers presented in the plenary sessions from the two conferences. All of thesehave been refereed and edited for this book. The submissions are about the varioustheories, concepts, ideas, programmes, examples, projects, and issues about youth,volunteerism, and youth empowerment. This edited book serves as a testimonyand memory for all who had participated in this series of youth focused projects. Inthe collection, one clearly sees how youth potential is unlimited all over the world.Given the chance to serve their communities, youth can indeed become responsiblecitizens of tomorrow.

The chapters and numerous examples herein, clearly demonstrate thesynergistic, energising, and dynamic relationship between those who hold socialresources for youth, those who initiate and coordinate youth programmes, and theyouth themselves who participate in such projects. Youth empowerment is thus, a“Win-Win” scenario for both youth and the communities in which they live.This book is organised into three parts: Youth Empowerment and Volunteerism:Concepts, Models and Theories, Selected Examples in Countries around the Worldand Conclusions. Part One presents the various theories, models, paradigms, andconcepts related to youth empowerment and volunteerism. All of these are both “fieldtested” and practical approaches which set the context for a better understanding ofthe numerous examples which follow in Part Two.

Although the chapters in this first part are written by authors from the UnitedStates, China, and Canada, they all convey that: a) empowerment is a dynamicprocess, b) youth volunteerism is an actualising and empowering process, and c)such a process holds the potential for positive outcomes not only of an immediatenature, but for healthy life long fulfilment.

Chapters 1, 2, and 3 can be viewed as a set of cornerstones concerned withempowerment model-building through volunteerism. In Chapter 1, Snyder andOmoto use empirical studies mainly from their own extensive body of research andpresent a three stage Volunteer Process Model (VPM), comprised of antecedents ofvolunteerism, experiences of volunteerism, and consequences of volunteerism. Theyclearly address the underpinning psychology of volunteerism and empirically answerthe important question — who gets involved in volunteerism and why? In Chapter 2,Omoto and Snyder extend their model to illustrate and justify the role of communitycontext, linkages, and connections to their volunteer model. Using their earlier VPM(in Chapter 1), they clearly argue the case that any model purporting to understandvolunteering that is devoid of community context, is seriously remiss. In Chapter 3,Risler and Holosko present the core elements, distilled from the literature, of a youthempowerment model. Their model is presented as a blueprint for implementation.It includes a series of examples and open-ended process questions for others toaddress, in planning for and applying this approach. In Chapter 4, Yue concludesby using the underlying concepts of hardiness and resilience nested in dispositionalempowerment, to demonstrate how these important aspects of empowerment areinterrelated. He discusses how they impact positively on intrinsic factors such aswell-being, optimism, cognitive re-appraisal of self and coping effectiveness. Finallyin Chapter 5, Kam draws on examples from Hong Kong to describe factors andprocesses that not only empower youth but others that may disempower them. Heconcludes the chapter and this part with an eight-step model to direct a successfulempowerment approach. Interestingly, when one reads these eight-steps and looksat them as essentials for successful empowerment through volunteerism, they forma set of assumptions that underline all of the examples in the remaining chaptersthat follow.

Part One—Youth Empowerment and Volunteerism: Concepts, Models and Theories

  1. Who Gets Involved and Why? The Psychology of Volunteerism
    —Mark SNYDER and Allen M. OMOTO
  2. The Role of Community Connections in Volunteerism and Social Action
    —Allen M. OMOTO and Mark SNYDER
  3. Blueprint for a Youth Empowerment Model (YEM) through Volunteerism
    —Edwin A. RISLER and Michael J. HOLOSKO
  4. Youth Dispositional Empowerment: Cultivating Hardiness and Resilience
    —Xiaodong YUE
  5. From Social Control to Empowerment: Toward a Youth Empowerment Approach in Services for Young People
    —Ping Kwong KAM

Part Two—Youth Empowerment and Volunteerism: Selected Examples in Countries around the World

     6.   In Search of Youth Empowerment in England
           —Malcolm PAYNE
     7.   Mistaken Identities: Canadian Youth and their Search for a Place in their
           —Michael UNGAR, Marc LANGLOIS, and Melissa HUM       
     8.   Youth Empowerment in Singapore: Theory, Experience, and Practice
           —Ngoh Tiong TAN       
     9.   Project Passport: Empowering Young Minority Women through a Volunteer
           Programme in the United States
           —Monit CHEUNG;
   10.   Youth Empowerment and Self-Actualisation: Experiences in Shanghai, China
           —T. Wing LO, Songxing SU, and Guoping JIANG;
   11.   Youth Empowerment in France: Action and Reaction
           —Dan FERRAND-BECHMANN

Part Three—Youth Empowerment and Volunteerism: Selected Examples in Countries around the World

   12.   Onward and Upward: Youth are the Future!
           —Elaine S. C. LIU and Michael J. HOLOSKO