Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Connecticut YOUTH Forum?
The Connecticut YOUTH Forum is a community outreach program of The Connecticut Forum that since 1993 has been providing unique opportunities for teenagers to connect and engage with each other across geographic, economic, social and racial divides. At YOUTH Forum meetings, diverse teens from different towns come together and talk about issues that they care about in a format of open honest discussion and with a Culture of Validation.
What is the Connecticut YOUTH Forum's mission?
The mission of the Connecticut YOUTH Forum is to bring teenagers together through discussion and action while providing opportunities for growth and exploration. Each year, this youth-driven program empowers over 750 urban, suburban and rural students from 35 high schools through civil dialogue, service learning and leadership development activities.
What happens at a Youth Forum?
Monthly youth forums bring together 200 diverse students from 30+ urban, suburban, and rural Greater Hartford high schools to exchange ideas and views on a topic or issue selected by the youth. Youth forums are facilitated by two adult allies (Program Staff). The Connecticut YOUTH Forum “Culture of Validation” – an established set of group agreements – creates a safe space for teens to talk, listen, and connect with one another. View a list of select previous meeting topics (PDF).
What is the YOUTH Forum Leadership Network?
The Leadership Network consists of 25-30 YOUTH Forum students who volunteer to meet about once a month to discuss and plan the present and future of the YOUTH Forum. They develop leadership skills, help plan events, such as monthly meetings and the Annual YOUTH Forum Student Conference, and have unique opportunities to participate in Connecticut Forum theater events, service learning projects and programs.
What is the Annual YOUTH Forum Student Conference (YFSC)?
The Annual YOUTH Forum Student Conference (formerly called the Student Exchange Event) is the biggest YOUTH Forum event of the year with up to 300 teenagers in attendance. It is a full day of small and large group discussions, speaker workshops, entertainment and sharing of food, friends and fun (including a talent show and dance!). This event is typically held in March.
What is the Student-Panelist Roundtable?
YOUTH Forum members have the special opportunity to attend Connecticut Forum theater events at The Bushnell theater. A select group of students will be selected to participate in the Student-Panelist Roundtable in which students meet and interview world-famous Connecticut Forum panelists before each Forum begins. Eight students are selected each Forum night for this exclusive opportunity based on their enthusiasm, participation and positivity at YOUTH Forum events and meetings.
What is the Annual Hartford Children’s Holiday Party?
Each December, YOUTH Forum students play a big role in The Connecticut Forum’s tradition of giving at the Annual Hartford Children’s Holiday Party. YOUTH Forum members serve as “elves” at this annual Connecticut Forum celebration, bringing holiday cheer to 300 Hartford elementary students.
What does it cost to join the Connecticut YOUTH Forum?
Nothing! The Connecticut YOUTH Forum is funded through corporate, foundation and school support. There is no cost for individual students to participate in the Connecticut YOUTH Forum. Schools in the Greater Hartford area that support the CT YOUTH Forum through Champion School sponsorship receive complimentary organized and shared transportation for up to ten students and free admission to the Annual YOUTH forum Student Conference (YFSC). Contact Alex Taylor if your school would like to become a Champion School!
How can I support the YOUTH Forum?
Sponsorships and charitable donations to the Connecticut YOUTH Forum make our work possible! Contact Alex Taylor for more information about how you can make a YOUTH Forum donation or become a YOUTH Forum sponsor.
Is transportation available for YOUTH Forum activities?
Schools in the Greater Hartford area that support the CT YOUTH Forum through Champion School sponsorship receive complimentary organized and shared transportation for up to ten students. Please contact Alex Taylor for all transportation questions.
Who manages and facilitates the Connecticut YOUTH Forum?
Alex Taylor, YOUTH Forum Program Manager: 860-509-0909
Haley Turner, YOUTH Forum Program Associate: 860-509-0909