Amplifying youth voice and cultivating leadership through participatory action research


  • Rachele Gardner Independent Consultant
  • William M. Snyder Civic Stewardship Initiative
  • Ayda Zugay ROCA



youth voice, youth leadership, Boston


This article presents the story of Youth Hub, a grassroots, neighborhood-based initiative in Boston, Massachusetts, highlighting its use of participatory action research (PAR) to amplify youth voice, cultivate leadership, and promote change. The article includes an explanation of the need from which Youth Hub emerged; a discussion of Youth Hub’s use of PAR, including benefits and challenges of the approach; a summary of key research findings; an examination of PAR’s usefulness for knowledge creation, including benefits and challenges; and an analysis of youth leadership and ownership in Youth Hub’s model, also including benefits and challenges. The article concludes with suggestions for how Youth Hub’s approach can be useful for amplifying youth voice and building youth leadership more broadly.


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Author Biographies

Rachele Gardner, Independent Consultant

Rachele Gardner, founder and former Executive Director at Youth Hub, is now an independent consultant supporting mission-driven organizations to adopt the Youth-Driven Participatory Action Research and Innovation model, implement outcome-driven programming, and develop innovative strategies for community engagement and empowerment.

William M. Snyder, Civic Stewardship Initiative

William M. Snyder is a principal at the Civic Stewardship Initiative (, where his work focuses on promoting community-organization collaboration for racial equity at the metro level.

Ayda Zugay, ROCA

Ayda Zugay is currently working as the Assistant Director of Learning and Evaluation across all sites at ROCA, serving locations from Boston to Baltimore. She is a refugee, passionate about criminal justice and immigration issues, as well as how systemic job reform has the power to rise up people from poverty.




How to Cite

Gardner, R., Snyder, W. M., & Zugay, A. (2019). Amplifying youth voice and cultivating leadership through participatory action research. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 27, 54.



Research For Justice