Youth and Board Service: Experiences of Participation in Organizational Governance

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The inclusion of youth on the boards of directors of youth-serving organizations benefits the youth clients, the youth board participants and the organizations themselves, says a report prepared by BTW Consultants.

The survey of 136 youth board members is part of the Developing Client/Consumer Participation on Voluntary Human Service Boards project, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The National Assembly undertook the project in 1996 to determine the value added to an organization when it includes clients/consumers on its board of directors. The survey was designed to assess the experiences of youth who have worked on boards of directors in order to both inform nonprofits about such youth involvement and provide them with information that would further facilitate youth participation.

The survey found that youth make active board members. About half of those surveyed have also served on a board committee. But youth were found to be largely unprepared for board membership. Only a third of those surveyed felt that they were "totally" or "pretty well" prepared for board service.

Examples of programs that have effectively brought youth onto boards of directors, such as Community Partnerships with Youth and Youth on Board are referred to throughout. 38 pages. $10. Contact: The National Assembly, 1319 F St., NW, Ste. 601, Washington, DC 20004. (202) 347-2080.