The Kinder & Braver World Project

The Kinder & Braver World Project portray participatory action research as, “a process through which people investigate meaningful social topics, participate in research to understand the root causes of problems that directly impact them, and then take action to influence policies through dissemination of their findings to policymakers and stakeholders (Powers & Allaman, 2012).”  The goal of the research is to expand their social movement into youth communities and encourage leadership.  Schneider describes social action as, “by organizing you can stimulate collective action in the community that generates power to create change (Schneider, 2012).”  Various programs have been designed to add value and promote positive change within communities.

Everyone has their own perspective on how they feel about a particular problem.  Relatively, it is necessary to customize programs that define unique qualities among young people and adults.  After engaging with individualized concerns, a plan for social change may be created.  The plan should clearly define a purpose and identify goals for addressing change.  By involving youthful communities in the developing a plan for social change, young individuals will learn how to address diverse communal issues.  They will learn how to relate to others from various backgrounds, cultures, and opinions.  Youth engagement models are effective for improving issues surrounding a common goal, as well as promoting relations that will motivate involvement.

Youth United for Change (YUC) is a veteran-based organization established in Philadelphia.  The group aims to meet the wishes and needs of young individuals within the community.  Generally, group activities and meetings take place in schools in order to reach out to the youth population.  Organizers promote relationships and address any ideas or worries that the young community may have regarding the world around them.  YUC wants to make sure that juveniles feel like their heard, and their needs are important.  Additionally, the process positively impacts leadership skills and relationships.  Conclusively, the program is an effective way for children to voice their opinion and propose any questions about social reform.


Powers, C.B., Allaman, E. (2012, December 17). How Participatory Action Research Can Promote Social Change and Help Youth Development – The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series. Retrieved April 14, 2017 from

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN 978-1412976381


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  1. I looked into “Youth United For Change” as well and noticed that the site explained that it was a youth-run organization. Did you mean when you said a “veteran-based program” that it was run by veterans of the program, rather than veterans of war? I think what makes it a particularly strong participatory action research group is the fact that it is actively managed and participated in by the youth they are trying to serve! My sister-in-law teaches at an inner-city school and has worked with inner-city school kids for many years. The type of education philosophies and practices that are needed to affect positive change in troubled or inner-city youth is vastly different from “traditional” education programs. Typically, when creating a program for this age group to stay out of drugs, make good decisions, or focus on their education, you might make the assumption that these kids live in a safe environment, have food on the table, or weren’t shot at least week (as is not the case for many inner-city school children). In this scenario in particular I think the involvement of this organization with the actual students and youth is vital to the success of the organization’s mission. There are unique needs, problems, and concerns in each individual community and I think the only method to effectively deal with it is to address the specific communities and individuals themselves. Unlike a government program addressed at a blanket treatment program for children across the country, I think the consistent monitoring and feedback that comes with involving a small community is what will eventually make lasting change there.

    Thank you for drawing attention to this organization and what they do! Hopefully it will inspire more people to get involved.

    -Kristen Jezek

  2. After looking into Youth United for Change, I think this is a wonderful example of participatory research at work. By incorporating the voices of children in public schooling systems with advocates for necessary changes for better educational environments, there is a real potential for positive social change (Youth United for Change, 2017). By identifying desired changes through the eyes of the students, such as the cessation of youth mistreatment by the Philadelphia School District officers and maintaining a “full inventory of water fountains” in the Philadelphia public school system, social investigations have been engaged (Youth United for Change, 2017; Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012). Additionally, participants and researchers have educated themselves of the rights and policies under which the school systems should operate. Finally, they vocalize their desire for reform within the public schools and demand adequate resources for education to move forward with the action phase of participatory research. This organization truly encapsulates what Freire viewed as an essential aspect of “authentic education” in working alongside the oppressed youth to give them opportunities to foster social change rather than simply informing people about the youth within the Philadelphia public school system (Schneider et al., 2012, p. 290). Further, this program incorporates important elements of participatory research specifically involving education. The Ottawa Participatory Researchers in Education focus immensely on factors that are essential for positive social change in educational institutions (Hansen, Ramstead, Richer, Smith, & Stratton, 2001). Specifically, “raising awareness” for opportunities in which students and faculty members can collaborate and develop a “controlling role in research” where researchers are seen as “consultants and equals” to the students involved in the participatory research (Hansen et al., 2001, abstract).


    Hansen, H.P., Ramstead, J., Richer, S., Smith, S., & Stratton, M. Unpacking Participatory Research in Education. Interchange (2001) 32: 295. doi:10.1023/A:1012499200443

    N/A. (2017). Education is a Right Not a Privilage. Youth United for Change. Retrieved from

    Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN 978-1412976381

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