In this essay, authors Sarah Zeller-Berkman, Jessica Barreto, and Asha Sandler, members of an intergenerational research team, explore findings from a critical participatory action research (CPAR) project on the lived experiences of young people in New York City who fell behind in middle school and/or who had the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) in their lives. This qualitative companion project to a Department of Education (DOE) and ACS data-sharing initiative included focus groups that surfaced recommendations for healing-centered approaches, equitable schools, and institutionalized ways young people are part of identifying issues and implementing solutions. This article examines these recommendations in relation to past and concurrent CPAR projects conducted by other intergenerational participatory action research and/or activist groups in New York City. It articulates a theory of action as it relates to youth participation on issues that impact young people’s lives more broadly, not just related to school reform.

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