Good Stuff Interviews

Grade Level: 
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
building relationships
Professional Development
Youth Advisory Committee
Youth Club
In this activity participants experience the appreciative inquiry approach of “looking at the good stuff in their organization and/or community.” Youth will look at organizations and communities as ‘half-full’ with potential, rather than ‘half-empty.’

What questions do you have for prominent community members and professionals? How can you work with prominent community members and professionals to positively imapct your community?


55-75 minutes 





  • Appreciative Inquiry is a dynamic approach to resolving community problems. Included in this activity is background for the facilitator. It is recommended that the facilitator review this concept in advance.  For more information, review the activity Structured Introductions, read “Positive Image, Positive Action” by David Cooperrider or “The Affirmative Basis of Organizing. Appreciative Management and Leadership: The Power of Positive Thought and Action in Organizations.” Jossey-Bass, 1990. 

    • The first step in the Appreciative Inquiry process is to select a topic to explore. List the following topics for the youth to review. If they say they’ve not had a positive experience like those named, ask them to imagine what one would be like and use that instead. Example topics:  
      • A time when you felt really involved in this organization and/or community
      • A time when you saw the organization/community come together to meet the needs 
      • A time when young people made a significant impact on the organization and/or community 
      • A time when you were proud to be a member of the organization and/or community 

    • The activity can either be done as an assignment where participants interview a number of people outside the group (such as prominent community professionals) or as an activity in the group where participants interview professionals invited to a meeting.
    • Interviews are structured by asking a series of questions about the selected topic. Each interview should have these three parts: high point experience, values, and wishes. The wishes allow the interviewees to explore things that they may not have experienced in the past but hope for in the future.  Participants should take notes during the interview paying special attention to key words that summarize what they are hearing and capturing “quotable quotes.” Some examples of questions include:
      • Tell me about a time when you felt proud to be member of this community.  
      • What were the circumstances around that time?  
      • How were people relating to each other?  
      • What were some of the feelings you remember about that experience?  
      • What do you value most about yourself?  
      • What do you value most about…(your community, school, organization or whatever the topic)  
      • What are three wishes you have for... (your community, school, organization or whatever the topic). This question can also be phrased as “Imagine it is three years in the future and your organization is operating at its best. Describe the situation. 

    • After concluding the interviews, the facilitator asks questions to summarize the themes from the interviews. List the themes on a flipchart. Some leading questons may include:
      • What were some of the circumstances you heard described? 
      • How did people feel about the experience? 
      • What were key memories that people had about their experience? 

    • The group reviews the themes and develops affirmative statements that reflect what might be in the future.
    • An affirmative statement is stated in the present tense as if it were already happening. Affirmative statements are statements of hope for a positive future. Since the statements developed here come from the experiences of members of the community, the hopes have roots in reality. 
    • Examples include: 
      • We have a community that uses all of its members to create and implement projects that benefit the common good.
      • People of all ages come together to discuss possibilities for the future and find ways to reach for our dreams.

    • Actions grow out of the themes and affirmative statements. Discuss with your group "How can we make these statements more of a reality?"
    • Since the entire process was based on the experiences of community members, the future is about building on good stuff, not creating from scratch. What does the group want to work toward as a result?