Get your loops here
First posted at 13:38GMT on 30/09/09 by Sarah Schulman
Loops is a youth and community development platform. It grows young people and community’s possibility and purpose through shared and surprising experiences. It’s about young people and communities wanting and getting more from each other.
Read our latest brochure to learn about how Loops works. If you participated in the prototype, and want to see the video, click here. (requires password)
For six-weeks, we tested Loops at a small-scale with with 25 young people, ages 12-19, in Brighton and Croydon. We use prototypes to help us learn about what works and what doesn’t in real-time, and to continuously iterate our propositions, training and tools, materials, front and back-end systems, and metrics.
We made 90 experiences happen in the community and young people met with reflectors for over 60 reflective sessions.
We learned that…
It is possible to mobilize the community and generate new resource.
High receptivity. In less than six-weeks, catalysts made 150 community contacts. We were more successful than we had anticipated. Small businesses and local organizations ‘got it’ immediately; many had never been asked to engage with the community in this way. It came in more shapes and sizes than work experience; and because the young person chose the experience, there was a real basis for exchange.
Great diversity. We had experiences spawning 20 different interest areas: from building speakers at a high-end factory to meeting with the partner of a top law firm to collaborating with international artists on an exhibition to stuffing owls at a taxidermy museum.
Young people, parents, parents, and hosts derive clear benefits from Loops.
Changed attitudes, values and behaviors. Young people who were actively engaged in Loops found they were more confident in new settings, more independent, could ask better questions, had made at least one ‘link’ to the community, and were more willing to try new things. Parents talked about seeing their young person be more reflective, do more on their own, interact with adults more confidently, take more positive risks, and find future opportunity.
Changed perceptions. Hosts of experiences were surprised to find that young people could be truly useful. Many began to see young people as collaborators, and were inspired to engage with young people more regularly.
Changed practice. The youth professionals and youth services we closely engaged with saw that an asset-based, developmental approach could be integrated into all the things they do.