Changing Youth Development
development must change. For 75 years experts and
organizations have been working to standardize the way young
people physically, mentally, morally and socially grow. This
standardization has happened in programs, classrooms, hospitals
and other settings where young people are grouped together
according to "ability" and age. This process has been called
Many young people have not
responded well to this standardization. Despite laws enforcing
standardized behavior and activities, in spite of the
standardized educational practices and high stakes testing in
schools and completely opposite of how many youth workers,
sociologists, educators and researchers have expected. Young
people and the organizations that serve them are increasingly
identifying the flaws of standardization, and are working to
transform these perspectives.
Following are resources that
show a new perspective of how youth development happens.
Resources related to Youth
AP uses a successful model of paid tutoring as an organizing
platform for student advocacy and activism. They create crucial
after-school jobs for youth and help students become more
engaged in learning.
Oasis Center's Community IMPACT! program engages youth in
advocacy against predatory lending. Young people are engaged in
a variety of community-based economics work that increases the
scope of their financial education, and youth organize for
curricular changes to make economics classes more relevant to
LAN is an intergenerational organization that provides
sustainable building and renewable energy education for young
people through hands-on building of a community house actually
owned by youth.
Collaborative Fund for Youth-Led Social Change
out of an effort of funders and youth practitioners to support
work at the intersection of youth development, youth organizing
The Evolving Capacities of the Child
by Gerrison Landsown for UNICEF. The
Convention on the Rights of the Child introduced for the first
time in an international human rights treaty, the concept of the
‘evolving capacities’ of the child. This principle recognizes
that, as children acquire enhanced competencies, there is a
diminishing need for protection and a greater capacity to take
responsibility for decisions affecting their lives. The purpose of
the study is to open the discussion and promote debate to achieve
a better understanding of how children can be protected, in
accordance with their evolving capacities, and also provided with
opportunities to participate in the fulfillment of their rights.
Bringing It Together: Uniting Youth Organizing, Development and
Services for Long-Term Sustainability by K. Zimmerman, M.
Chow and T. James for the Movement Strategy Center. Links to The
Freechild Project review.
Model for Working with Youth: Community Organizing + Youth
Development = Youth Organizing
by the training and support organization LISTEN, Inc. This paper
explores the influences of community organizing and youth
development on youth organizing; describes a continuum that
identifies different levels and models of youth engagement; and
outlines the fundamentals of youth organizing: its processes,
guiding principles, practices and impacts.
Youth Activism and Youth Development among African American
Youth in Urban Communities by S. Ginwright. This paper is
guided by three objectives. First this paper builds knowledge
through qualitative investigation about how youth in urban
neighborhoods develop political awareness and participate in
civic activities. The study details the community, familial,
peer group and social influences on political and civic
participation among African American youth ages of 15 and 25
develop in Oakland, California. Second the paper document
interventions and organizational practices in schools, community
centers, churches that shape civic and political participation.
Third the paper advances sociological theory regarding youth
political engagement by developing a framework that deepens our
understanding of the relationship between urban environments and
the development of political ideas among youth.