Youth Leadership

By engaging youth as leaders, we teach them important skills in community service and democratic citizenship while improving life skills and academic achievement.

By engaging youth as leaders, we teach them important skills in community service and democratic citizenship while improving life skills and academic achievement.1,2 The ways that power and authority are distributed in traditional institutions like schools can make supporting youth leadership challenging, so adults can play a key role in fostering youth leadership development by building relationships and granting students autonomy and independence, while remaining respectful of them and attentive to their experiences.3,4,5 The Texas School Safety Center supervises several youth groups built on a foundation of leadership and engagement including the Texas Teen Ambassadors, the Texas Say What! Youth Engagement Movement, and the Texas Youth Preparedness Camp. Not only does leadership benefit our youth, it benefits our society as a whole.

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A Season of Service: Service-Learning Projects Strengthen Student and Teacher Outcomes

November 2019

For many, the holidays represent a season for giving and spending time with family and friends. We emphasize selflessness and giving to those in need during the holiday season. Incorporating this same spirit into the classroom through service-learning projects benefits both recipients and students. Student service learning refers to learning that actively involves students in experiences that often benefit others and the community while also supplementing the curriculum through experiential learning and reflection. (Read more…)

Engage and Empower Students for a Stellar School Year

September 2019

Wouldn’t it be great to bottle that “fresh start” feeling that launches each new school year so you could spike the cafeteria’s chocolate milk cartons with it when student engagement begins to lag? Authentically centering student voice and engaging youth in participation projects could be the answer. We know that student perceptions and student input are inextricably linked to providing a safe campus climate. Since linking student voice and engagement is an abstract idea, let’s look at recent research to make it more concrete. (Read more…)

Youth Promoting Safe and Healthy Environments

May 2014

For more than a decade, the federal government has funded a campaign targeted at curbing adolescent drug use - the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. Although research deemed the campaign unsuccessful in the early years, recent studies have noted the impact it has had on national rates of youth drug use. One of the changes to the campaign, which led in part to this recent success, is the focus on involving youth in program and content development. The campaign is now inspired by what youth share about their lives and how they deal with certain situations. (Read more…)

The Positive Effects of Youth Community Engagement

April 2013

Researchers have begun to study the interaction between youth engagement and positive development. Youth engagement is defined as "meaningful participation and sustained involvement of a young person in an activity, with a focus outside of him or herself" (Crooks, Chiodo, Thomas, and Hughes 2009). For the purposes of this article, a community refers to the geographical boundaries established by municipalities (e.g., city or town), a neighborhood, and/or a school environment encompassed within larger geographical boundaries (e.g., a campus or a district). (Read more…)

Texas Tobacco-Free Kids Day Activities


Texas Tobacco-Free Kids Day (TTFKD) is an annual awareness day, sponsored by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC), to encourage students of all ages to live tobacco-free lifestyles. TTFKD is held in conjunction with Kick Butts Day, a national event sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. On Kick Butts Day, thousands of youth will organize activities to expose and counter the tobacco industry's powerful promotional strategies aimed at youth. This guide will provide activity ideas and other information to assist in conducting some really cool awareness events and activities!