Trust and Support

Student responsibility, initiative and autonomy do not emerge magically. They are outcomes of a learning and growing process facilitated by adults (at home or at school), enabling students to acquire relevant skills and to develop positive character attributes.

Learning and skill acquisition occur as students interact with supportive adults they trust. Trust grows as students develop an expectation that when they approach adults, they will be listened to and taken seriously. Students are encouraged to take the risk of proposing new ideas and activities when they know their ideas will be genuinely considered and followed up on.

An ongoing flow of informal communication between students and adults speaks to a high level of trust and support experienced by students, a critical component of youth empowerment. Later on in the process, fewer requests for adult help and support—at an educational or psychosocial level—may also be an indicator of greater empowerment. Autonomy arising from a solidly grounded network of support indicates that students are developing their own internal resources.