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About Us > Five Core Principles

Five Core Principles Guiding IYG's Programming

Indiana Youth Group programming is run on our Five Core Principles of Youth-centered Development, Sex Positivity, Intersectionality, Social Justice, and Harm Reduction Mentality. 

Youth-centered Development 

Through its youth-centered approach, Indiana Youth Group focuses on the individual alongside the community at-large. Focusing around developmental, achievement-based, and prevention outcomes. The activities, programming, and curricula are created or selected through collaboration with the youth development professionals and IYG youth. Whenever possible, youth are involved in decision-making and program planning to empower them to take responsibility for creating positive change in their lives as well as in their communities.
One such program is the Youth Council, this council is elected by its peers and is governed by by-laws they have created. Other IYG programs and groups are focused on co-creating with the youth a safe space to have meaningful conversations. Group facilitators are there to listen and encourage the conversation among the youth. Facilitators offer invitations to participate to empower youth to choose their level of participation and share in the responsibility of the group.

Intersectionality

Programming is selected and created to be intentionally inclusive of as many various identities as possible, always encouraging youth to share their experiences from the perspective of the various communities to which they may belong. If a group is homogenous in its make-up, the facilitator is trained to ask questions of how a particular topic relates to other groups or people who may not necessarily be represented.

Sex Positive

There is age-appropriate and medically/scientifically accurate information that everyone, including youth, need to have access to, and IYG is proud to be a resource for that information. Being "sex positive" or "sex affirmative" means that we will select and develop programming that emphasizes safer-sex practices and the importance of informed consent. In collaboration with the youth, we cultivate a space that is respectful and welcoming of all sexualities and sexual behaviors (or lack thereof), as long as the youth are safe and there is mutual, informed consent.

Harm Reduction Mentality

Our focus is not necessarily on changing the behavior of a youth but reducing the harm of that behavior. Because we operate with a youth-centered approach, we value the importance of self-determination and collaboration. IYG provides youth with accurate information and a safe space where they feel they can be honest, to help them make realistic plans with goals they set and in which they are invested. In the end, they may choose to disengage from the undesired or unhealthy behavior, they may choose to alter the behavior to decrease the associated risk, or they may choose not to make any changes.

There are times when using harm reduction is not appropriate and immediate action must be taken, if the youth reports self-harm, harm to others, being abused, or suicidality. All IYG staff and volunteers follow state and federal mandatory reporting laws for child abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse.

Social Justice

IYG works to empower youth not only to advocate for themselves, but to learn how to advocate for their community and other marginalized communities that they may not be a part of. Advocacy efforts with other communities promotes understanding and empathy towards individuals of other communities.IYG offers opportunities such as Indiana Pride of Color, Youth Advocacy Day, Indy Pride, AIDS Walk, and Out of the Darkness, for youth to coordinate and lead efforts to raise awareness and better society. IYG is continually seeking to partner with other agencies or individuals who would like to offer civic-focused programming.