With the realities of the growing youth population around the world and the emergence of new challenges, young people must be involved in shaping their own future. There are a number of evidence-based youth engagement strategies that work to bring this cohort together to solve critical issues. There is one such strategy, Community YouthMapping (CYM), that has been effectively engaging young people since the early 1990’s.
The CYM process, developed by Richard Murphy while New York City Commissioner of Children and Youth Services in the Honorable David Dinkins administration, and adapted by Eric Kilbride and Raul Ratcliffe (first at the Academy for Educational Development and currently at Block by Block Consulting), has been implemented in more than 150 places in the US and more than a dozen countries. The CYM process
trains youth in three different but complementary data collection methods. First, youth are prepared to conduct place-based surveys that identify all services, supports, and opportunities available and note the gaps. Second, youth are prepared to conduct group discussions with specific target groups to address the gaps that were uncovered during the place-based mapping. Lastly, young people are trained to do "observational mapping", in which they document the physical spaces and conditions of a given location for its youth-friendliness, safety, accessibility, etc.