Hey y’all! This is Diamond Whitley, the Youth Engagement Specialist from One Voice IMPAACT (follow us on Facebook and Instagram, please). Firstly, let me ask you what you think a Youth-Adult Partnership is? Is it a student and a teacher? Is it a parent and a child? Is it a coach and a player? What if I told you, it was all three and much more!

Youth-Adult Partnerships are relationships between youth and adults where there is mutuality in teaching, learning, and action. Recently, I was invited to the Florida Coalition for Children’s Leadership Summit. I was learning from systems leaders as much as they were learning from me during presentations. Our community café was full of engaging perspectives on both sides. That’s not where it ends. After the long day of hard work, we all sat at a table in the hotel and got to know each other on a deeper level. I no longer felt like a 19-almost-20-year-old who was along for the ride. I felt like I was a peer in which they had mutual respect for.

We had just spent the day building a work relationship, and the night building a friendship. I can’t stress how important this is for collaboration. I now know that I can be fully transparent with the CEOs of these agencies because I know them as people. They will feel secure coming to me about issues in their service areas because they know my capabilities and my intentions. Never underestimate the power of Youth-Adult Partnerships! Remember to sign the Youth Voice Pledge today!

Diamond Whitley is the Youth Engagement Specialist for One Voice IMPAACT. When she’s not working, she’s a full-time student at UCF. Diamond is majoring in psychology to enter a career in therapy.