How change happens

The Theory of Change for the YouthLab Program explains our mission with and for our target audience: youngsters released after detention and professionals working in the judiciary system. Below you will find an overview of what we aim for with  the program. 


Young people

  • resort to  a single and static script when engaging with justice professional
  • deal with  unresolved frustration and trauma from past experiences in the justice system
  • lack skills and tools to meaningfully  transform into a new and positive phase in life
  • experience persistent stigma: a lack of recognition in their new and positive role in life.


  • resort to  a single and static script when engaging with youth, lacking awareness or skills for a tailor-made and empathic approach. 
  • are limited to  meet youth in roles of ‘offender’ versus ‘justice professional’; often lack  the opportunity for informal meetings outside court and detention. Therefore they are rarely able to connect outside the existing power-dynamics. 


YouthLab facilitates the opportunity for both parties to connect outside this existing   power dynamic. We support and equip formerly detained young people, by creating a (safe) space to share their life story, learn to express themselves and participate in society in a meaningful way. Professionals are trained to act in an empathic and constructive approach towards youngsters and each other. 

A YouthLab training aims to make professionals and youngsters aware of the (single) script(s) they use in contact with each other and how to create multiple and adaptive scripts. For professionals, the aim is to improve their communication (skills) and empathic approach within the power-related situations and settings (like a courtroom). For young people, the purpose of the training is to experience that the youngster and their experience are taken seriously and are worthy of being heard, thereafter making a change to the system and their own lives.


Young people:

“I am worthy to be heard and to be on my best path. My idea of Self transcends the things I have done or what happened to me. I can inspire change for myself and can help others get there too.” 


“I know how to systemically operate and communicate in a youth-friendly way, that is most beneficial for the young person I work with.”