Project: Youth Voice Project Roadmap 

Youth Voice Roadmap: Guiding Tomorrow's Leaders

Discover the Firefly Youth Voice Project Roadmap, a collaborative initiative amplifying young voices for positive change in Vincentia High School and beyond.

Project Details

Welcome to the Firefly Youth Voice Project Roadmap, a collaborative initiative between Uniting, TeEACH (Transforming Early Education and Child Health) at Western Sydney University, and Vincentia High School. This youth-led research project, established in April 2023 and concluding in October 2023, aimed to amplify the voices of young individuals in the community. Generously supported by Uniting with funding from the Foundation of Rural and Regional Renewal, the project aimed to address key concerns and foster positive change within the school environment. 

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Project Overview 

The Firefly Youth Voice Project Roadmap offers a comprehensive insight into the research journey undertaken by the youth participants. Utilising an adaptation of WSU’s ReSPECT youth co-design research model, the project was tailored to the unique context of Vincentia High School with mentorship and guidance from TeEACH. The roadmap traces the evolution of the project, from its establishment to the development of peer researchers, the execution of a community survey, and the final project pitches to community leaders. 

School Community Survey 

In August 2023, Vincentia High School students engaged in a comprehensive survey hosted on UOW’s Qualtrics platform, revealing valuable insights into the school’s demographic landscape. The key demographic highlights include gender distribution, sexual orientation, Indigenous identity, language spoken at home, employment status, disability, mental health, and living arrangements. 

 Wellbeing and Safety 

The survey delved into students’ overall wellbeing, showcasing a nuanced perspective on physical and mental health. While physical health received positive ratings, mental health ratings indicated room for improvement. Sleep patterns, safety at school, and the factors influencing students’ ability to be themselves were also explored. The findings highlighted the significant impact of school, technology, and bedtime routines on students’ sleep quality. 

Safety at School 

Safety concerns within the school environment emerged as a prevalent issue, with almost half of the students perceiving some form of safety risk. Notably, the survey revealed a spectrum of feelings regarding safety when interacting with friends and school staff. Individual responses shed light on experiences of fear, violence, judgments, and verbal abuse, emphasising the need for a safer and more inclusive school environment. 

School Satisfaction and Participation 

The survey unveiled a mixed perspective on school satisfaction and participation. While over half of the students expressed satisfaction with their education, a notable proportion believed they were not reaching their academic potential. The importance of social aspects, including friends and recess/lunch breaks, was emphasised. Engagement in school activities varied, with sport dominating participation, and opinions on the benefits of these activities were diverse. 

 Digital Technology 

Digital connectivity was widespread among students, but concerns about school technology, impending phone bans, and preferences for communication methods were evident. The survey provided valuable insights into students’ reliance on technology and their expectations for improved school technology. 

Breakfast Club 

Exploring students’ engagement with the Breakfast Club revealed usage patterns linked to school years. While some students desired an extension of the service, others never utilised it. The findings indicated a need for further consultation to enhance the Breakfast Club’s appeal and accessibility. 

Participation in Community Activities 

Students’ involvement in community activities and their perspectives on barriers to community access were explored. The survey highlighted a demand for more opportunities, including structured activities in creative arts, youth sport clubs, skate parks, and educational opportunities. Barriers such as money, mental health, public transport, road quality, and home life were identified, emphasising the need for targeted support. 

Health Services and Disability Support 

The survey captured students’ views on medical services and disability support, showcasing a neutral stance on medical services and varied satisfaction levels. Students with disabilities expressed the need for community education, understanding, and support, emphasising acceptance, education, and more time.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, the Firefly Youth Voice Project Roadmap provides a comprehensive overview of the research journey undertaken at Vincentia High School. Despite challenges, the participatory approach involving youth peer researchers proved invaluable, offering unique insights and lessons for future projects. The report emphasises the need for reflection to enhance the effectiveness of initiatives involving youth peer researchers in participatory research projects. 

Explore the roadmap to gain a deeper understanding of the Firefly Youth Voice Project’s impact on Vincentia High School and the broader community. 

Supporting Partners

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Youth Insearch
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Youth Voice: Phase 1

The Youth Voice project is a youth led, youth research initiative being delivered in partnership and collaboration within the Bay and Basin community.

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