At TYAN, our focus is on promoting Positive Youth Development and highlighting the value of Youth-Adult Partnerships (YAPs) – part of this is better understanding why youth want to join YAPs. YAPs are found in a variety of different organizations. Our team created a survey to explore youth interest in YAPs and understand their motivations for joining them. Student staff oversaw the development of the questions, cleaned and analyzed the data, and took the lead in writing the results.

We partnered with MyVoice to survey 638 youth ranging in age from 14 to 24 years. The surveyed youth live across the U.S. and our collaboration with MyVoice, a part of the University of Michigan, enabled us to gather this data using text-based surveys.

Here are the questions the youth were asked:

  • Do you have a caring adult you can talk to besides your parents/guardians? If yes, tell us about them.

  • Some organizations partner young people with adults to work together on social issues that impact adolescents and young adults. Have you worked with an organization like this? Tell us about it.

  • Are you interested in being involved in an organization like this? Why or why not?

  • What are some of the benefits (or downsides) of young people and adults working together on social issues?

  • What is the best way for organizations that work with young people to connect with you about what they do?

  • What is the best way for organizations that work with young people to connect with you about what they do?

Now what you’re waiting for… the results!

  • 43% stated that they are interested in being involved in a YAP with 29% of youth wanting to join to make a difference in their community.
  • 59% stated that they have a caring adult with 17% of those stating that their caring adult is school or academic related and 12% stating their caring adult is extracurricular related.

  • 10% of the youth stated they have been involved in a YAP previously.

  • Youth found that there are more benefits than downsides to youth and adults working together with 60% of responses including a benefit.

  • 48% of responses stated that using social media would be the best way to connect with them about what the organization does.

We also asked participants to provide a statement about how they felt about YAPs:

  • “You would get a wider range of perspectives on these issues and inter-generational ideas on how to solve them.”

  • “Shared resources are a big benefit. Young people have many bold, new ideas and often need someone to guide them through the best way to execute the ideas.”

  • “I only see benefits. Both people can learn from each other and better understand the issues from multiple points of view.”

One of our amazing student researchers, Christina, created an infographic that summarizes these results! Check it out here!

We are so excited to continue our research with YAPs. In an effort to reach a larger audience, we submitted an abstract to the American Public Health Association Conference. It was accepted and we will have the opportunity to present our findings at the upcoming annual conference in November! In addition, we are now currently working on a research paper for publication which will dive deeper into youth interest in YAPs!



Organizations interested in starting or expanding their youth-adult partnerships can apply to be a Community Partner. As a Community Partner, organizations can access to exclusive materials, technical support, funding, and more!