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positive youth development

Community Youth Engagement in East Palo Alto: A Study of the Youth Arts and Music Center Initiative

The Youth Arts and Music Center Initiative is a community-wide effort to design and build an arts center In East Palo Alto. The six-year process, supported by the Goldman Foundation, centered on youth leadership and the arts, and engaged a cross-sector collaborative of partner organizations in an attempt to address the city’s shortage of existing arts programming. This case study analysis of the Youth Arts and Music Center Initiative contributes to the existing literature of community youth engagement; that is, the process of engaging youth in efforts to improve their community.

PASS-2: Putting Youth Contribution at the Center of Positive Youth Development in Oakland High Schools

Positive youth development literature suggests that adults can create settings that support youth development across five foundational dimensions: competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring, and this, in turn, will enable youth to develop a sixth dimension: contribution. During the 2011-12 academic year, the Gardner Center had the opportunity to conduct an implementation study of the Peers Advising Students to Succeed (PASS-2) program run by Oakland Kids First (OKF).

Positive Youth Development in Redwood City, 2012-2013

Since 2011, the Gardner Center has partnered with Redwood City 2020 to study one of its key initiatives, the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Partnership. This report synthesizes interview, focus group, and survey data from youth participants in in-school and afterschool settings as well as community youth service providers to explore youth development in Redwood City, CA.

Youth in the Middle: Envisioning and Implementing a Whole-School Youth Development Approach

Youth in the Middle approaches the challenges faced by schools and youth amid a culture of high stakes accountability while trying to implement a community youth development approach to teaching and learning. Youth in the Middle involves teachers, community-based organizations, administrators, youth, and city and county institutional leaders to develop an effective system-wide approach to support positive youth development (social, emotional, physical, and cognitive) across in-school and out-of-school settings.

Positive Youth Development: Individual, Setting, and System Level Indicators

The goals of this brief are two-fold. One is to contribute to efforts to reach some agreement about tools and constructs focused on social and emotional assets. Although different institutions and organizations gather some information about positive social and emotional development, the youth development field does not have an agreed upon set of positive indicators that span research, policy, and practice. The review of literature on youth development practices and tools to measure assets suggests several indicator themes.

Youth Empowerment: The Contributions and Challenges of Youth-Led Research in a High-Poverty, Urban Community

This issue brief addresses the benefits and challenges of sponsoring a youth-led research project, specifically Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (a participant-led research program intended to make young people’s voices heard) in a school where students and their friends, families, and teachers confront daily difficulties posed by poverty and its attendant ills. It finds that a youth-empowerment framework has particular value in this context, but poses unique challenges to program design.

Playworks: Promoting Positive Youth Development in Low-Income Elementary Schools

During the 2009-10 school year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the  Gardner Center  to conduct an implementation study of Playworks in eight San Francisco Bay Area schools. This brief is one in a series of final reports from this implementation study.  It examines the ways that Playworks promotes positive youth development and reports students’, teachers’, and principals’ views of the program's effects on students and the school environment.

A Model for Fostering Youth Leadership: The Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning Program (YELL)

Youth leadership is widely recognized as a positive, desired youth development outcome. This issue of Youth Developments takes a close look at one youth leadership program, Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (YELL), offering a look at the Gardner Center's  youth leadership development that is informed by six years of research and practice. These authors identify three skill sets as a foundation for authentic youth leadership: (1) communication, (2) analytic thinking, and (3) positive involvement in the community.

Community Counts: How Youth Organizations Matter for Youth Development

This paper reports numerous accomplishments and successes of active young people engaged in community organizations. Over the span of ten years, the research team visited 120 youth-based organizations in 34 states that constructively involve young people in their non-school hours. Of greatest importance for society is the compelling evidence from the experiences of these youth that community-based organizations can play a critical role in meeting the needs of today’s young people.

Building Bridges: A Summer Program for Middle School Students Highlights a Community School in Action

This issue brief outlines key features of a community school, and examines how one summer program models and leverages these features. Specifically, this brief focuses on the Summer Bridge program at Kennedy Middle School, one of four schools in Redwood City, California, shifting to a community school approach. Summer Bridge showcases key community school design features in action, highlights how these features support student success, and provides concrete examples of challenges and lessons learned in the process of community school development.

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