Youth Voices

Youth VoicesCommunities thrive when they include the voices of all their members, regardless of age. For that reason, the Community Foundation engaged young people, particularly those whose voices are not often heard, in a series of conversations to get their perspectives on our community.

The Youth Voices Project

The Youth Voices project began in 2013 when the Community Foundation identified an opportunity to gain the valuable perspective of young people on community issues.  We took action and convened 40 Quad City area youth, ages 13-22, who shared their views in candid conversations held during the

The importance of education, and real-life experiences gained through work and volunteering were common themes. Similarly, participants emphasized the value of having adults in their lives to provide support, encouragement and structure.

As one participant explained, “If you have a say in your community, you own part of it, and then you care more about it.”  The insight gained from these youth will help inform the Community Foundation’s grantmaking decisions and program planning.

Participants were also connected to ongoing opportunities to make their voices heard, such as youth advisory councils, leadership groups, and our own Teens for Tomorrow youth philanthropy group.

To view the final Youth Voices Report, visit Community Data.

In addition, the Community Foundation's 2013 Yearbook features a story about The Youth Voices Project. 

The Project Continues

The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend remains committed to supporting Youth Voice in our regional community.  In 2014, CFGRB reached out to the Search Institute, a leader and partner for organizations across the world in discovering what kids need to succeed.  After accepting the invitation to partner with CFGRB, the Search Institute sent two of their experts to begin work with Quad City area youth.  In January 2015, Theresa Sullivan, Ed. D., Director, Applied Qualitative Research and Community Mobilization, and Jenna Sethi, Research Associate, held focus groups with 8 youth-serving agencies interested in making youth voices heard in our community.  “What’s Needed?” and “Why is Youth Voice Important?” themes were drawn from interviews with the young people over a two-day period.

Taking what they learned from the January focus groups, Terri and Jenna reconvened the focus group participants, and youth from several other organizations, on March 29, 2015. In all, 25 Quad City area youth and their adult leaders representing youth-serving agencies participated in the half-day retreat held at the Community Foundation. Each participant expressed an interest in making the organizations they are involved with, and our regional community, an even better place for youth to make their voices heard.

Goals of the retreat were to report back on the data gathered during the January focus group sessions, Connect with other young people and organizations that want youth to be heard; Learn what other young people all over the Quad Cities think is important for our community; and Work together with youth and adult leaders in their own teams and within other groups to improve opportunities for young people to be heard whenever they’re involved.

Participants generated ideas for community-wide action and commitment, they experienced a culture of authentic youth voice throughout the afternoon, and they left with a specific action plan to implement within their organizations.  CFGRB will be providing a $1,000 grant to each participating organization to help them implement their plan.

A report from the most recent portion of this project will be available in the near future. 
For more information, email Kelly Thompson, Director of Programs at the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend.

"The Endow Iowa Tax Credit was the perfect way to create a fund while taking advantage of the state tax credit.

Read more

Refer a friend to us

Know someone who would benefit from the expertise of our financial professionals at the Community Foundation? Refer them to us now!

Did You Know?

Children's Therapy Center has a nonprofit endowment at the Community Foundation to ensure their success for years to come.
Read more