Ross VeLure Roholt
University of Minnesota
Ross VeLure Roholt is a community engaged participatory researcher who focuses on understanding the social practices and discourses that challenge young people’s leadership and participation in community and social development efforts, especially with young people from historically marginalized and contested communities. Ultimately, Ross is curious about how young people are silenced and disenfranchised from civil and political processes and the consequence of these efforts on those that work to invite and sustain young people’s civic participation. His research collaborations focus on creating both youth work practice guidance and youth program models to support innovation in the youth services. Over the course of several research partnerships, he framed a model of youth work, called Civic Youth Work. This practice frame supports programmatic and youth workers to create opportunities for young people that invites their engagement on public issues they personally care about, amplifies their leadership skills and capacities, and sustains their involvement to take meaningful action on these same issues.
His current research partnerships focus on three initiatives: Northside Healing Space, Roots for the Home Team, and YouthBank MN. Each of these partnerships support a related but different model to explore youth involvement in social development, social justice, and social change. Northside Healing Space provides opportunities for young people to engage in community research to address the legacy of historical racialized trauma in the African American community in the United States, with the goal of creating community well-being and community healing. Roots for the Home Team invites young people working in urban garden and farm programs to work as social innovators and leaders around both issues they care about and their own future. Finally, YouthBank MN partners with a regional funder to address community social issues through youth-led philanthropy. Ross works both directly with young people in these initiatives and gathers stories and data to systematically learn more about the practices and opportunities that amplify young people’s voices and challenge the systematic silencing and disenfranchisement of young people from civic and social justice actions.