What is Adobe Youth Voices?


Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) ignites young people’s Creative Confidence – the ability to harness creative skills to solve problems – using advanced digital media tools and tested storytelling techniques. With greater creativity, and a greater belief in their own abilities, young people will be more engaged in their education and better prepared for a fast-changing global economy.

AYV is the Adobe Foundation’s global initiative to increase creativity, which we believe is critical to prepare young people to be the problem solvers, critical thinkers, and leaders of tomorrow. Youth develop original media that highlights an issue they care about, identify solutions, and in the process foster critical creative skills and a passion to make a difference.

AYV is brought to life through our nonprofit and education partners, educators and employees around the world. Since the program’s launch in 2006, nearly 100,000 youth have created media projects putting to use their newfound creative confidence.

See a broader overview of Adobe Youth Voices here >

How Adobe Youth Voices Works

Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) works with mission-aligned organizations and school districts to re-engage youth in learning through creativity. Our partners are selected based on their capacity to scale the program, through large networks of schools or community-based organizations, either in a geographic region or globally, and their ability to generate visibility for the program and the resulting youth-produced work. The Adobe Foundation provides these partners funding and software, along with comprehensive programmatic support and curriculum. Our partners deliver the training, curriculum and software directly to thousands of teachers and afterschool providers worldwide. Through a year or more of professional development and support, educators facilitate the program locally as part of their on-going instructional practice, thereby insuring lasting change.

The program comes to life as young people identify an issue they care about, and express a point of view on that issue by creating original media content – from videos to essays, animation to music – enabled through Adobe software and tools.

In doing this, AYV delivers on our mission of igniting creative confidence by developing young people’s innate ability to harness their creative skills to solve problems. The specific creative confidence skills we aim to develop through the program include self-expression, ideation, collaboration, flexibility and persistence. We measure the mastery of these skills among participants as indicators of our program outcomes.

Further program elements include:

  • AYV Essentials – is an online community of educators that provides free access to the entire collection of AYV curriculum and professional development tools.
  • Adobe Youth Voices Awards – a global challenge that invites youth to creatively express their vision for driving change in local communities and submit a media project as an entry.
  • Adobe Foundation Creativity Scholarships – a million-dollar fund that offers assistance to high school seniors (or international equivalents) who have participated in AYV and who are applying for support to attend post-secondary education or certificate training in creative fields.

See a broader overview of Adobe Youth Voices here >

Program Impact

The Adobe Foundation works with Mission Measurement in a coordinated, ongoing evaluation of AYV. The evaluation measures the effectiveness of AYV against intended outcomes for educators and youth. For youth, positive results include increased creative confidence and its accompanying skill set, including self-expression, ideation, collaboration, flexibility and persistence. Educator outcomes include improved knowledge of creative skills and how to teach them, using digital tools with youth, increasing the application of creative thinking and the use of digital tools across subject areas and capitalizing on the learning opportunities presented when youth master self–expression and creative thinking.

The Case for Creativity

Creativity is central to Adobe’s business and brand – our products enable people around the world to express themselves creatively through technology. It’s also central to our social responsibility commitments – self-expression and creativity are how we support change, especially when it comes to working with communities and youth.

We believe that creativity is critical, today and for our future. In fact, creativity is cited as the top leadership competency for the future1, and 78 percent of college educated professionals say creativity is very important to their career2. As we move in to the future this will only become more important: two-thirds of jobs in 2020 will require new kinds of skills3. The ability to innovate and adapt is imperative.

Yet, creativity is in crisis, particularly in education and among youth. The rudimentary, basic skills education of the past era is no longer sufficient. Around the world, students are not being equipped with the necessary creative skills, which are on the decline in grades K-6. And this shows in the impact on our workforce: 32 percent of current college-educated professionals don’t feel comfortable thinking creatively in their career4.

At the Adobe Foundation, we see this creativity gap as particularly worrying for today’s youth that need these skills to be able to succeed in the economy of tomorrow. As such, Adobe Youth Voices plays a central role in Adobe’s efforts to address this crisis. By igniting Creative Confidence in youth, they will have the necessary creative skills to succeed.

  1. The Most Important Leadership Quality for CEOs by Austin Carr. May 18, 2010 on FastCompany.com
  2. Study: Creativity Should be Taught as a Course. November 7, 2012 on Adobe.com
  3. Forecasts From The Futurist magazine on wfs.com
  4. Study: Creativity Should be Taught as a Course. November 7, 2012 on Adobe.com