What is YPAR? YPAR (Youth Participatory Action Research) is the innovative nationally proven approach to positive youth-led community projects based in social justice principles in which young people are trained to conduct systematic research to improve their lives, their communities, and the institutions intended to serve them. A YPAR process is fully youth led embedded with equity, power sharing, and a balance of research, action, and change. Our youth are the change agents for today! The YPAR activities allow the youth to choose different issues and conduct collegiate level research designed to not only to find answers, but also enact solutions to community and social issues.
R.A.P. has been a leader in advocating for the youth voice in Kent since 2017. Our programs and work with the Kent School District, the City of Kent, and Best Starts for Kids has provided us the opportunity to empower our youth to believe in their true worth, positive self-identity, and their ability to bring forth healing and change in the community. RAP’s history includes working with YPAR experts, professionals, university professors, community activist, etc., in each research area to assist the youth in conducting the youth led YPAR activities. The youth become educated on the real problems, learn how systems work and plan and practice solutions in areas such as business, economic, social justice, education, health, and overall well-being. Youth will be able to utilize this as experience when applying to college and in their other academic and community endeavors.
The current YPAR project is a working partnership that applies the YPAR youth led process with the Kent, WA police Department (KPD) to create and improve positive dialogue between youth and Kent Police provide input for the KPD Race and Equity Plan. Utilizing YPAR best practices for community advocacy by learning and practicing research and action principles, conducting community gatherings, study, and mentoring by community adult allies, this YPAR project will create a pathway for our youth to make an impact on creating positive Youth and Police relationships and engagement.