At Mizzen we celebrate how out-of-school time learning is all about inclusion and creating a community-driven adventure. As Mizzen CEO, Carlos, says, “Relationships absolutely shaped my identity.” Imagine an educational experience for youth where friendships grow, adult mentors support and celebrate along their journey, and group adventures lead to learning and fun.

The impact of belonging to a community is incredible. The Search Institute shares that, “strong developmental relationships help young people of every age, race, and socioeconomic background discover who they are, cultivate the ability to shape their own lives and destinies, and learn how to positively contribute to the world.

They also shared some trends that are worth paying attention to:

  • The positive elements of family relationships tend to decline through adolescence.
  • Too few students experience strong relationships with their teachers.
  • Young people do not consistently experience elements of developmental relationships with staff/volunteers when they participate in youth-based programs.
  • Peer relationships are critical in identity formation but are often overlooked.

Mizzen is more than a platform; it’s a community of youth practitioners who celebrate the magic of human connection with staff, youth, families, and partners (like our friend, Daniel from Alliance for a Healthier Generation, quoted above). We’re all working together to redefine the learning experience, making it not just informative, but also a place where everyone belongs.

As Carlos implores, “I want us to look at how peer relationships show up as youth look to construct their own learning. They want to build and create with their friends. As we visualize learning experiences with youth, let’s make sure these include open time for youth to build and create with their peers.

Ready to build more belonging in your program? Your community adventure awaits!