Power of Youth Workshops

By YLan Nguyen, MD Middle School Programs Coordinator
Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff

For the past two months, AALEAD youth at Newport Mill Middle School have been planning their own workshops. Youth-led workshops are one of the ways that youth can choose what they want to learn about and how they want to learn.


Facilitators of the two-part workshop “LGBTQ Issues and Intro to Zodiac Horoscopes” presenting their slides.

Youth-led workshops allow AALEAD youth to shine and share their interests. Here are the top takeaways Newport Mill youth have gotten from planning and participating in youth-led workshops:

  1. You get to learn about new things. Youth learned about the history of manga, popular types of Japanese noodles, LGBTQ issues, and more. All workshops involved a learning component and an interactive activity.

A group of Newport Mill youth are playing a Japanese noodle matching game.

  1. Leading workshops can be difficult, especially getting participants to pay attention. Many underestimate the challenge of keeping their peers engaged with the workshop and connected this to the importance of having interactive components.
  1. It’s important to be knowledgeable about your topic. In order to be so, a great deal of research was involved during the planning process. Many times, youth chimed in with questions and clarifications about the workshop topic.
  1. Diversity in workshop topics is important in keeping people interested and invested. During the planning process, youth reviewed AALEAD outcome areas – educational empowerment, identity development, and leadership. The outcome areas are broad enough to allow creativity in deciding workshop topics. A wide variety of lessons creates a sense of excitement for the program calendar.

A slide from a “History of Manga and Manga Drawing 101” workshop.

  1. You have to learn how to work with different people and their work styles.

The various aspects that come with facilitating a workshop including brainstorming, planning, and practicing take time and effort to accomplish. For many youth at Newport Mill, this is the first time they’ve had experience facilitating a group of people. It has been amazing to witness the creativity and thoughtfulness the youth have put into their workshops as they step into the role of an AALEAD Program Coordinator.

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