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Community-Focused Youth Engagement

Put youth engagement at your organization’s core


Community Youth Engagement

Is your program struggling to connect with targeted populations? DeJesus Solutions’ Community Youth Engagement (CYE) model works with agencies to enhance youth engagement with the broader community, helping youth, your program, and the community thrive together. The CYE model is based on a credible messenger framework through which individuals who overcame similar backgrounds engage youth in structured and intentional relationships that help youth build skills, complete education, succeed in work experiences, and build ever-important social capital.  


Upon contract completion, organizations immediately dive into the Community Youth Engagement (CYE) model assessment. DeJesus Solutions’ team of experts reviews the results and develops a CYE team tailored to the organizations’ needs. The CYE team uses the results to create a personalized, three-day CYE training seminar while carrying out CYE system building and engagement activities all year long. Throughout the initial development of the CYE initiative, these organizations can depend on DeJesus Solutions for ongoing support.



Making Changes to the Traditional Youth Service Model

Despite numerous positive youth workforce development initiatives and promising policies, many programs struggle to bring young people through the doors—and when they do come, it’s difficult to get them to stay. Of the millions of vulnerable youth who desperately need positive these developmental supports, few find meaningful participation in existing programs and services. We created the Effective Youth Engagement Project (E-YEP) in response to the lack of a knowledge base about what programs can do to raise youth engagement.

E-YEP focuses on helping youth service systems incorporate a responsive, empowering, asset-based approach into more traditional workforce development and education program design. THE E-YEP approach centers on transforming the conventional program model into one that produces greater outcomes for programs and participants alike.

Through the incorporation of E-YEP principles and practices, traditional youth service methodology is enhanced through the incorporation of a new service model focused on the development and integration of strategic practices based on an engaging service framework.


MAKiN’ iT Training (MIT)

MIT is a transformative, engaging, and culturally competent experience for youth service providers everywhere. It’s designed to help youth service workers engage students entering or considering entering workforce development and alternative educational programs. Based on the MAKiN’ iT Curriculum, MIT is supported by a social capital framework that Edward DeJesus created in 2011.


MIT prepares organizations to work with and serve three primary groups:

  1. In-school youth in need of workforce development supports and guidance

  2. Out-of-school youth seeking employment and workforce skills

  3. Adjudicated youth seeking options for diversion.


MIT engages youth service professionals in a systematic way of addressing the barriers to young people’s long term success and achievement. With the power of social capital assets, this training promotes lasting change and helps youth forge the tools for transformation necessary to succeed in the entry-level labor market and beyond.


By combining engaging classroom group activities with real-world learning experiences, MIT not only helps youth service staff increase youth engagement; it gives them strategic connections to “Opportunity Agents” who can help them do so. MIT leverages these assets to train staff how to:


  • Educate youth about the skills, habits, credentials, education, and connections needed for success in workforce development programs and entry-level employment.


  • Build young adults’ social capital with Opportunity Agents throughout the community, industry sectors, and social service agencies.

  • Empower young people to practice their new skills and habits in the real world, contributing to their long-term labor market participation and success.


  • Engage youth in meaningful social capital building through structured engagement with Opportunity Agents.


  • Promote reciprocal benefits of the social capital-building process by giving young adults the opportunity to share what they learned with peers, family, and their community.


MIT is a three-day training accompanied by six weeks of implementation assistance. Contact us today to get started or for more information.



Improving Youth Engagement

Traditional strategies aren’t enough if you hope to capture and sustain youth participation. Clear and substantiated evidence must exist to illustrate a program’s visible and articulated success in engaging youth with impactful activities and programming. Merely pointing out the services offered doesn’t suffice. Young adults often don’t respond to a list of services and offerings; far too often, they’ve been disappointed by false promises. Instead, youth seek out demonstrable evidence that their peers are actively and genuinely engaged. In this workshop, DeJesus Solutions asks you to consider what program activities your students say they enjoy spending the most time in and why. It’s with this demonstrated evidence of engagement that your program will connect with and impact future participants in a culturally competent way.



This interactive and upbeat workshop will provide cutting-edge solutions to recruitment and marketing efforts for the hard to find, out-of-school youth population. Gain valuable insight into effective and proven methods of youth involvement, program promotion, building credibility, advertising, social media, and PR. Learn vital tips to determine your target demographics, maximize your advertising dollars, and develop the right partnerships to ensure recruitment success.


Engaging the Hardest to Serve

Frustrated by youth apathy to education and the workforce? You’re not alone. The majority of youth workforce development providers say that finding work for youth isn’t the hardest part of their job; finding young people willing to meet real workforce expectations is. Don’t build demand for job-ready workers when you aren’t able to produce workers truly ready for the jobs. DeJesus Solutions will teach your organization how to spark youth investment in workforce preparation – and how to turn that spark into an opportunity and job-seeking blaze. This seminar offers attendees the chance to evaluate which youth behaviors are most detrimental to workforce participation, and programmatic ways to shift those behaviors. Don’t alienate your youth and drive them away from success – let DeJesus Solutions help with this dynamic workshop that past participants have described as “incredible.”


Addressing Challenging Behaviors

This course will explore the problematic behaviors that youth partake in while in the program and the community, especially common factors that contribute to anti-achievement attitudes and the parenting styles utilized by caregivers. By addressing the relevance of the youth service worker, learn to uncover the racial, cultural, and societal factors at the root of problems facing your youth. You will learn to identify the parenting style of a caregiver, and ascertain strategies that work best with individual families. Through this seminar, you will better know how to establish a framework for observing the relationships underlying complex situations, and unravel often hidden subtleties and influences for a more complete awareness of the interconnections between systems, all while assessing risk and implementing culturally sensitive protective factors.

Counseling Young Men in Community and Residential Settings

This workshop will explore the meaning of the constructs of race, culture, and gender; the meaning and impact of racial, cultural, and gender identity; and the impact of racism and sexism in clinical youth service practice. Address the relevance of both the service worker and the client’s racial, cultural, and gender identity, and unpack the meaning and experiences of those identities in the context of systemic racism and sexism. When you learn to examine these similarities and differences between workers, coworkers, and clients, you are better able to serve diverse populations. This course offers a non-shaming, non-blaming space for youth service workers to explore case material in the interest of understanding the interactions between social identities, systems of oppression, and the bio-psycho-social concerns each client brings to the workforce or program. Participants will learn to integrate an anti-oppression perspective into assessment, diagnosis, engagement, and ongoing programming, no matter the youth development model.



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The Official Thought Catalog from DeJesus Solutions

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