On Thursday, July 26, community members gathered to celebrate seven of ACYI’s Technology Enabled Girl Ambassadors (TEGAs) as they completed their Market Research Society (MRS) accreditation, their qualification for conducting interviews with youth, parents/guardians, and community members to inform the work of the ACYI Partnership. The TEGAs underwent months of training and capacity building to help prepare them to become effective interviewers, gathering initial perspective from youth, parents, and community members about what they are experiencing here in Adams County, and are now beginning to conduct more tailored research to inform the work of the ACYI Partnership.
TEGAs are young women from Adams County ages 18-24 who are trained to conduct research via a mobile application. Girl Effect (an international non-profit) designed the app so girls can become digital interviewers, collecting real-time data about their communities in the form of audio, videos, and photos, as well as traditional survey data. The TEGAs in our community completed initial capacity building phases of research with youth, parents, and community members on topics such as education, youth services and activities, and school safety and bullying.
With the preparation, training and skills gained through the capacity building phases of research, our TEGAs are continuing conversations with youth, parents, and community members to inform the work of the ACYI Partnership. The Post-Secondary Success CAN is working with TEGA to garner authentic youth and parent perspective to inform their work. Information already gathered through the TEGA program is showing that youth in our county as young as 13 years old are concerned about the cost of post-secondary education and the ability to pay back loans. TEGAs are currently talking to young people who graduated high school in Adams County in 2018 and are not currently enrolled in a post-secondary program to help the CAN understand how we can better support our youth on their journey to receiving post-secondary credentials and certificates needed for gainful employment.
TEGAS are also currently interviewing intervention specialists, school resource officers, and youth in order to gain perspective on what makes students feel safe in Adams County, and how the system can be improved to better support them. In the coming weeks, the TEGAs will speak with over 100 youth and community members in safety support roles from across Adams County.