Choppin’ it Up: Youth-Led Dialogues for Positive Change
This dissertation engaged youth in a collaborative inquiry about their lives and experiences, the impact of abuse in relationships, and ways they survive and thrive in the face of adversity. Beginning in May 2011, Families Thrive, the Antioch Unified School District, and the Youth Intervention Network, collaborated to invite a group of twenty high school youth in Antioch, CA to participate in a powerful approach called Choppin’ it Up. This approach to working with youth extends beyond solving problems and instead focuses on weaving new narratives and co-constructing alternatives by increasing our understanding of each other, generating new ways of being in relationship, and imaging positive possibilities together. This story of transformation is centered on how adults and society view youth who are labeled at-risk or troubled, how youth view themselves, and in altering the relation, including the language we use and stories we tell, between youth and adults in order to create positive change in our communities.