Discovery Youth Evaluation 2002 - 2003
Clearly, Discovery Youth has had a tremendous influence on the lives of many young people in the San Jose region. To continue to make an impact, the program should build on existing strengths to meet program challenges.
Educate community partners to help recruit new participants: In June, 2003, CDM Youth Programs Staff held a Discovery Youth Advisory Panel Meeting to build bridges with parents and community organizations. This meeting was a great first step in raising awareness about the incredible work that happens at Discovery Youth. CDM Staff could brainstorm with staff from other community organizations on ways to cross-fertilize participation in their respective programs. An example of this might be collaborating with a local elementary school to organize a visit by DY participants to a Health class. the Discovery Youth could share their projects, or lead a health awareness class. The teachers and principal could then identify specific students that might be a good fit for Discovery Youth.
Gain stronger commitments from casual DY participants: Discovery Youth serves many participants throughout the program year. An ongoing challenge has been to increase participation from those youths that come only occasionally. Discovery Youth could challenge each of the core participants to recruit one person that they don't know very well to become more active. The core group of participants is an amazingly talented and confident bunch; they might do well at coming up with strategies to keep their peers more involved.
Enhance formal presence of Youth Programs on CDM Floor: Posting the self-portraits on the Museum floor was a great way to build awareness among the museum's visitors about the kinds of things that go on at Discovery Youth. Discovery Youth staff and participants should show even more of what they do to the thousands of diverse visitors that visit CDM every day. For example, the big doors to the Media Studio offer a great space to post a "What goes on behind closed doors.." type display to tell visitors about the kinds of projects and goals of Discovery Youth.
Invite DY "Alumni" to participate in any fashion they can. Discovery Youth has a connection with an older group of teens that have come through the program . Even a minimal level of involvement could help demonstrate to current participants that the impact of the program will last far beyond their tenure as participants. For example, alumni could help coach current Discovery Youth on projects or software. Or, they could just stop by once in awhile to share experiences. However it is done, involving even more role models might be able to help some of the Discovery Youth participants.
This report was written by Dan Gilbert. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org