new book on communities using Positive Youth Development

Jonathan F. Zaff, Elizabeth Pufall Jones, Alice E. Donlan, and Sara Anderson have published their edited volume entitled Comprehensive Community Initiatives for Positive Youth Development (New York: Routledge, 2016). “Positive Youth Development” is a whole stance toward adolescents that involves supporting them to do positive things rather than preventing them from doing bad things. The preventative approach can be done in a caring and sympathetic way; it still tends to fail. Teenagers get too few opportunities to contribute, and they flourish much better when they have such opportunities. Many Positive Youth Development initiatives are programs: organized, named, defined activities that enlist certain kids for certain purposes, such as service, arts, or sports. But we can also intervene at the level of communities to increase the opportunities for all resident kids and to involve them in designing and allocating programs. Not much has been known empirically about “comprehensive community initiatives” for Positive Youth Development, but this book assembles the best available evidence and has roots in the practical work of the Center for Promise. One chapter is by Jodi Benenson, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, yours truly, and Felicia M. Sullivan: “Youth as Part of the Solution: Youth Engagement as a Core Strategy of Comprehensive Community Initiatives.”

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.