Youthhood is based upon research on healthy adolescent development,
educational standards, and IDEA transition guidelines. The site carefully
and intentionally seeks to meet the psycho-social and educational-emotional
needs of all youth.
The following describes the philosophies and research studies
upon which the Youthhood site is built.
Youth development is a process which prepares young people to
meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through a coordinated,
progressive series of activities and experiences which help them
to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically, and cognitively
competent (National Youth Development Center, n.d.). Positive
youth development addresses the broader developmental needs of
youth, in contrast to deficit-based models which focus solely
on youth problems.
Youth development as an asset-building approach
- Focuses on the positive
- Encourages youth to take personal
responsibility for making a difference in their communities
- Mobilizes the public, as well as all youth-serving
organizations in a community
- Views youth as a resource
- Embraces a vision-building perspective
- Encourages cooperation
within a community
- Unleashes the caring potential of citizens
and organizations so that public resources can be focused on
areas of greatest need
- Hopes that change is possible
A synthesis of research from the Harvard School of Public Health
(Simpson, 2001) found ten tasks of adolescent development common to all
youth. Youth must:
- Adjust to sexually maturing bodies and feelings.
- Develop and
apply abstract thinking skills.
- Develop and apply a more complex
level of perspective taking.
- Develop and apply new coping
skills such as decision making, problem solving, and conflict
- Identify meaningful moral standards, values, and
- Understand and express more complex emotional
- Form friendships that are mutually close and
- Establish key aspects of identity.
- Meet the demands of increasingly
mature roles and responsibilities.
- Renegotiate relationships
with adults in parenting roles.
From these ten tasks, five ways in which adults can support
these adolescent developmental needs are suggested. These include:
- monitor and observe;
- guide and limit;
- model and consult; and
- provide and advocate (Simpson, 2001).
The Youthhood curriculum seeks to support youth in their developmental
tasks and to engage adults as allies in this work. Youthhood
promotes the concept of youth working hand-in-hand with adult mentors as
they explore content, try activities, and pursue personal goals
through use of the Life Map. The role of adults working with
youth is to provide guidance, insight, support, and advocacy
so that youth can make a successful transition from high school
to postsecondary training, employment, and adult life.
Benson, P.L. (1995). Uniting communities
for youth: Mobilizing all sectors to create a positive future. Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute.
National Youth Development
Center. (n.d.). What is youth development? Retrieved March
2, 2005 from http://www.nydic.org/nydic/programming/whatis/index.htm
A.R. (2001). Raising teens: A synthesis
of research and a foundation for action. Boston: MA: Harvard School of Public Health,
Center for Health Communication. Retrieved March 2, 2005 from
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