What is an adult ally?

By: Savannah Williams, Advocate at Umbrella in Newport, Vermont

ally hand

For youth to become active in sexual and dating violence prevention they need to be able to identify trusted adults, or adult allies, that will collaborate with them in this process. An adult ally issomeone who provides nonjudgmental guidance, structure, support, and safety for youth. It is a person who pushes back against adultism by encouraging youth to take the lead in social change.

How can you get youth to identify what they need in an adult ally? Asking them!

On Wednesday, February 19th I asked students at North Country Union High School in Newport, VT to list what they needed in an adult ally.  This is the list they came up with:

  • Helping, listening, helping when you need it AGE: 15
  • Give you smart advice when you need is AGE: 14
  • Listen to you and be able to give advice AGE: 15
  • Loving, caring, joyful to be around AGE: 18
  • Positive person AGE: 18
  • Able to keep secrets, not freak out if your wrong AGE: 16
  • Honest, caring, trustworthy AGE: 15
  • Caring, trustworthy, emotionally/mentally stable AGE: 17
  • Positive AGE: 17
  • Kind, friendly AGE 16
  • A teacher or parent who helps out with my problems AGE: 18
  • Kind, caring, trustworthy AGE: 16
  • They help you through tough times AGE: 14
  • Caring, helpful, nice AGE: 16
  • Someone that you can rely on with your darkest, deepest secrets and wont judge you on it AGE: 18
  • Trusting, keep secrets, knowledgeable AGE: 18
  • Honesty, sweet, caring, funny, respectful AGE 18
  • Someone I can trust will do the right thing to help me in any situation AGE: 17
  • Someone you can tell anything to no matter what it is AGE: 16
  • Caring, sweet, knowledgeable AGE: 17
  • Dependable AGE: 16
  • They have to be nice AGE: 16
  • Someone that’s not going to lie and so what they say AGE: 9