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Fortifying Futures Project – May Newsletter

Last updated 28/5/2024

Grounded Gratitude

We at AHSHAY are deeply grateful for your willingness to be on this journey. This will be a different experience than most projects. Journey is a better word than project because you will help provide guidance, determine if we are on course, and will make discoveries that will inform us where we are going. You hold remarkable brilliance; some through experience, some learned, some earned in unique ways.

Together, we are going to struggle with important questions, and, through the strength of our growing relationships, there will be joy – even in the times of struggle. We are going to cultivate a space of abundance and possibilities. We will be some version of a village together, with youth in our hearts and at the center. I invite all that each of you are, into a space that expresses mutual respect and regard. I look forward to this journey, and all that your brilliance will bring into this world.

– Dr. Ben Danielson

Research Workflow+ Process

Fortifying Futures for our Youth is a collaborative co-creation project. We are actively developing the specific process we plan to use for this co-creation project and will continue to refine or iterate it through collaboration with participants. We want to intentionally document the process and our reflections while participating so that we can learn from and improve our co-creation process.

High school kids hanging out in school after classes

Our proposed workflow for data collection was developed in acknowledgement of the historical and ongoing ways in which research has been harmful to communities.This includes how often data is collected without consent and how extractive research can be when participants do not have a say in how or why data is used. Our intention is for all participants to feel heard and truly valued for their time and perspective in this project.

The purpose of the workflow example seen below is to support data autonomy; ensuring that participants know what data we are collecting and why and have authority over how their own data is presented or shared externally. We are striving for transparency and autonomy of information.


Presenting data externally for youth and adult data – requires minimum 2-month lead time before it can be presented. 

Need for presentation (e.g., report or paper)
  1. Initial draft by AHSHAY research staff
  2. Share draft, purpose, etc. with youth and adult groups for meaning, making and approval
    – Youth have veto power on sharing of specific findings over adults
  3. Iterate
  4. Present again for feedback and approval
  5. Share out

Project Timeline

Fortifying Futures for Our Youth project emphasizes process– the process and time of relationship building and the time it takes to move into an abundance mentality.

The project is broken down into strategic phases: Internal Prep + Staffing, Planning, Convening, Cultivation, Planning Implementation, Implementation (Policy). The Convening Phase began March 2024 and will continue through March 2025, this group will be engaging in an extensive design thinking process – following with the Cultivation Phase, allowing for a deeper understanding of intentional prototyping as needed, and larger community feedback and buy-in.

With the goal of centering and elevating youth brilliance and communal wellness in the space – we are expanding the length of the notice and empathy co-creation phases and breaking the group into two age-caused spaces. Allowing an element of unlearning and learning and what we have been speaking to as powering up and skilling up for each group.

Our hope is this will support having space to norm and storm, access wellness supports, create actionable practices of solidarity, and be brave with the least amount of harm possible to youth. Each age caucused group is on track (or learning journey) over the next several months with overlapping goals and objectives. Their overarching goal is to come together as an abundant focused and empathy driven group in September for the first design thinking facilitated space.

Topics each group will explore before convening in September will be:

  • Power analysis and power transformation
  • Exploring data autonomy and collaborative research engagement
  • Actionable values + group agreements
  • Understanding co-creation and your role as a participant
  • Communal wellness + abundance exploration

Community Amplifier

Here are a few upcoming events and offerings from our community partners.