Starting a youth-centered group, organization or program begins with careful pre-planning. Questions you want to begin to ask yourself are:
(1) Who is your target population?
(2) What are the intended outcomes you hope to achieve?
(3) How will the program/organization/group become sustainable?
WHO IS YOUR TARGET POPULATION?
Your target population is the group that your program is intended to serve. Yes, you will be working with youth, but will it be youth from a particular neighborhood, youth of a certain age or educational background? You can only tailor your services once you identify who your target audience will be. This is crucial for those developing a new program, for it allows you to become more specific and intentional and helps you avoid being all over the place as you come up with your ideas.
WHAT ARE YOUR INTENDED OUTCOMES?
Outcomes are the things that you want your target population to be able to do once you implement a program activity. For example, if your program provides tutoring, an outcome could be that 85% of program participants will advance one grade point in the subject they have been tutored in. Outcomes all you to measure the success of your program.
HOW WILL THE PROGRAM BE SUSTAINABLE?
Is your program free or will there be a program cost? Is the program dependent on volunteers or will you need paid employees? You will need to identify the costs involved in starting and maintaining your program by developing a budget. Once that is done, identify the areas of income for the program–whether they are from program fees paid by participants or grants. Comparing the income with the program costs will allow you to understand how much is needed to maintain the program. You will then need to identify places you will solicit money from if your current income is not sufficient.
This then moves you into the next phase of your development…
SOYA, LLC would like to thank Shining Starz Dance Troupe, under the direction of Pat Jackson and assistant Shanika Wilson-Ross for asking me to be MC of their summer dance extravaganze which showcased the performances of their young dancers. The performances were wonderful and I had a ball!
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(In photo: Pre-school aged dancers in the Shining Starz Dance Troupe. Photo by Khadijah Ali-Coleman)