39 Days of IDEAS | Day 21: Giving teens a hand in everything

One nonprofit realized offering teens leadership positions in the organization (in addition to serving them through innovative programs) was a win-win situation, providing teens with valuable experiences and offering the organization new perspectives for strategic clarity.

"When teens lead, teens succeed,” said Susan Landrum, manager of development and outreach at VOX Teen Communications, summing up their approach to youth development through writing and publishing programs. To capitalize on that approach, VOX seeks ”authentic participation” from teens at all levels of the organization, not just in the programs designed for them. “Teen leadership began at the editorial table, but it became clear to us that VOX would only live up to its mission if teens worked in tandem with adults in all aspects of programming,” said Landrum. “They now serve on the board of directors, facilitate workshops, help hire adult VOX staff members, and even help shape the look and feel of the work space.”

Teens have even served on the strategic planning committee, giving adult colleagues “invaluable input on the future direction of VOX.” Teens also lead programs, from writing workshops and member training to creating and administering their own initiatives—like VOX’s Art Club, started by teen member Mac Rowe, which recently held a curated show at the High Museum of Art.


Each quarter, Georgia Nonprofit NOW delivers the practical know-how, thought-leader insight, sector news, and community updates you need to be a High Performance nonprofit professional. Become a GCN member, and get the only magazine devoted entirely to the Georgia nonprofit sector, delivered straight to your mailbox and available online. 

The Georgia Nonprofit NOW team: Betsy Reid, Editor-in-Chief: Marc Schultz, Managing Editor; and Tom Zimmerman, Community Editor 

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