Youth Engagement Institute

Join us for two days of strategies, practice and ideas, learning how to start and support an effective Teen Advisory Council in your program or school.  The workshop will be held on Wednesday, July 8, and Thursday, July… Read More

Teen got Game Too!

Matt, a high school senior and regular at the Neutral Zone, was noodling around on his phone about 4-5 months back and came across a photo App, Frontback, that he thought was a cool novelty. It takes a… Read More

Neutral Zone – A Youth Driven “Discourse” Community

Being youth-driven, we let teens have a voice on the “youth-driven spaces” blog.  I am proud to share this week’s blog with a teen I am exceptionally close with, my son Myles.  Myles was an active teen at… Read More

Music as a Critical Tool for Youth Development

I still remember the scene vividly, even though it was almost 10 years ago. I popped in on Elliot, Neutral Zone’s Studio Manager, while he was mentoring a teen in sound engineering. He was explaining how the studio… Read More

Why Aren’t Student-Teacher Relationships a Priority in Schools?

It was a great moment! The leadership team from one of the Michigan Safe and Supportive high schools student advisories– made up of 5 students and 2 teachers — arrived for training early and were waiting for the… Read More

Why Can’t Students Write on the Walls at School?

I always find it a little depressing when I step into a high school and there is not a single student poster, flier or work of creativity hanging in the halls. This is true in a vast majority… Read More

Give Youth a Seat at the Board and a Space for their Voices

At a recent conference, I met one of the Directors of Youth on Board who asked me if we have youth on our board at Neutral Zone.  I proudly shared that 13 out of our 29 current board… Read More

Uncommon Core: What a Bunch of Teens Can Teach Schools about What they Want in School

For nearly all of our 16 year history, Neutral Zone has been engaging teens in unique literary arts programs, starting with VOLUME – our weekly and summer youth poetry project and weekly Short Story Writing workshops.   In these… Read More

Giving Students Voice in School Reform

High School is a place where many teens feel like their voices are not heard. Because of the vast academic requirements placed on schools, and teachers in particular — many feel like they simply don’t have the time… Read More

Eye of the King – Reflections from a teen on MLK

Being youth-driven, it only makes sense to let teens have a voice on the “youth-driven spaces” blog.  The excerpt below is from an incredible student leader in Benton Harbor Michigan.  Carlos Henderson is one of a group of… Read More