Voices of Youth: What Makes a Difference

Everyone has an opinion about what young people need to become healthy and productive adults. FindYouthInfo.Gov invites teenagers and young adults to reflect on their life experiences and share their perspectives on the people, relationships, programs, and life lessons that have made a real difference for them.

Here you will also find links to ideas and resources on how to engage youth and young adults in developing and operating programs designed to serve them.

Featured Youth Voices

"My goal is to...be the best role model that I can be for the tribe to show them that staying involved with the community is important for youth because it can have a major impact on their future and health."


"The word “disability” is not in the athletes' minds at all. We don’t see it as a disability. For myself, I see it as a unique ability."


"Although it can be scary at first, I’ve found that sharing my experiences has helped adults recognize that I, as well as many other young adults, could help make positive changes to their organizations."


“I wanted to participate in a different kind of journey where I could experience and get a better understanding of strengths and hardships of communities first hand.”


“I...was very motivated to get out of the program and successfully be on my own. I knew that the only way that I would do this was if I... took advantage of every opportunity that they had to offer.”


"I was inspired to create MY LIFE...because there was really a lack of places that youth could share their voice, and make a positive difference in their lives and in the community."


"Being part of this youth board turned my anger for the foster care system into passion. I had a story but my peers did, too. It became less about me and more about a group of youth who many people forget about."


"I have always wanted to go back to places that I have been…and just talk to kids and tell them that…if you just use your voice and stay on track, your future will be brighter."


"I’m nongender, which for me, means that I don't identify as either male or female."


"My internship was a life-changing experience. We invited members of Congress to come and listen to what we had to say and hear our recommendations for how to improve foster care through lawmaking. It was a great experience and I learned a lot.”


"I am able to lead by example so that other people see that this is what foster youth could be and that foster youth are able to make it through the system being resilient."


"I owe the self-confidence to even apply for higher education to supportive adults…in my life."


“There is always a way to make things better. Take the time to hear what youth have to say.”


“A lot of people might think that you may not have good ideas because you're a teenager, but working hard makes a big difference as it shows [others] you have a voice and you are capable…”