- How adolescents learn (you may also want to review the cognitive development resources in Domains of Development)
- Planning: engaging youth in program design and evaluation, creating trauma-informed and inclusive program environments, and planning for recruitment and retention
- Activities and strategies that can be integrated into programming
- Locating evidence-based programs
Science of Learning and Development
This brief presents the scientific foundations of a modern understanding of learning and development. Turnaround for Children.
SEL Tookit: Self-Management
Self-management is critical to learning. Resource topics here include promoting a growth mindset, perseverance, and motivation to learn. ACT for Youth.
How Youth Learn: Ned's GR8 8
This brief, entertaining animation highlights eight conditions of learning based on recent findings in neuroscience. What Kids Can Do.
Video (6 minutes)
Multiple Intelligences Theory: Widely Used, Yet Misunderstood
One of the most popular ideas in education is applied in ways that its creator never intended. Here, find what to do -- and what NOT to do -- when applying the theory of multiple intelligences. Edutopia.
Community Programs to Promote Youth Development
How can youth programs be designed to promote adolescent development? This research brief includes a summary of the features of positive developmental settings. National Research Council and Institute of Medicine.
Program Planning: Build a Logic Model
Using youth development programming examples, this presentation describes how to develop a logic model. The Logic Model Tool can be used in the program planning process. ACT for Youth.
Developing a Logic Model or Theory of Change
Learn how to create and use a logic model -- a visual representation of your initiative's activities, outputs, and expected outcomes. Community Tool Box.
Concept to Classroom: Key Principles of Developing an Afterschool Curriculum
What should you consider when designing a curriculum for an after-school program? This module, part of a longer online workshop, helps you think it through. WNET Education.
NYS Network for Youth Success: Start a Program
The New York State Network for Youth Success is dedicated to building a youth-serving system that increases the quality and availability of after-school and expanded learning programs. Here you will find resources on program design and quality, as well as licensing, funding, sustainability, and more.
Design Principles for Community-Based Settings
This guide describes principles for putting the science of learning and development into action in community-based settings. Forum for Youth Investment and others.
Engaging Youth in Program Design and Evaluation
Youth-Centred Design (YCD) Toolkit
Under the motto "Design with children and youth, not for them," the YCD Toolkit provides a process, guidelines, tools, and techniques to include child and youth voices in the development of meaningful programming that reflects their needs. One Youth Canada.
Youth Programming Assessment Tool (YPAT)
YPAT is both a tool and a planning process. It was designed to help youth-serving organizations reflect upon their programming and practices and identify areas for improvement. Youth voice is a critical part of the YPAT assessment and planning process. USAID.
Youth Participatory Evaluation (YPE)
YPE is an approach that engages young people in evaluating the programs, organizations, and systems designed to serve them. Through YPE, young people conduct research on issues that affect their lives, developing knowledge about their community that can be shared and used. This section of the ACT for Youth website provides YPE resources and describes YPE principles and benefits. ACT for Youth.
SAMHSA's Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach
This report presents a working concept of trauma and a trauma-informed approach to human services in order to develop a shared understanding of these concepts across an array of service systems and stakeholder groups. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Implementing a Trauma-Informed Approach for Youth Across Service Sectors
In this webinar, presenters discuss the concept and prevalence of trauma; techniques for coping with and recovering from trauma at an individual and systems level; the core principles for building a framework for understanding trauma; and implementation of elements essential for a trauma-informed system. Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs and SAMHSA.
Integrating a Trauma-Informed Approach with Youth Development Programs
This issue brief introduces key components of a trauma-informed approach to youth development programs. Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut, Inc.
The 12 Core Concepts for Understanding Traumatic Stress
These interactive, online lessons lead participants through the Core Concepts: conceptual lenses used to better understand childhood trauma, trauma's causes and effects, and strength-based systems approaches to intervention planning. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
Creating Safe Spaces: Facilitator's Guide to Trauma-Informed Programming
This guide to trauma-informed programming is for facilitators who deliver school- and community-based or one-on-one programs to young people. It includes checklists that facilitators can use before, during, and after program delivery to ensure that they are using a trauma-informed approach.
A Checklist for Integrating a Trauma-Informed Approach into Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs
Use this checklist to find out where your program is already integrating principles of a trauma-informed approach and where you can improve. While the checklist was designed for teen pregnancy prevention programs, almost all of its points are more broadly applicable. A list of resources follows the checklist.
Secondary Traumatic Stress
This webinar series addresses the complex impact of secondary traumatic stress, vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout. Prevention and intervention strategies are addressed at various levels within an organization. Note that you must create a user account to access this course. National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
Inclusiveness: Building Stronger Connections
Here we share resources to help professionals assess their own biases, address bias and inclusion in programming and classrooms, and create inclusive environments. ACT for Youth.
Recruitment and Retention
Five Strategies for Successful Recruitment and Retention of Children and Families in Human Service Programs
The goal of this toolkit is to increase participation in human service programs for such issues as behavioral health, substance use, stress management, parenting, and healthy relationships. This toolkit provides strategies for developing a strong recruitment and retention plan. RAND Corporation.
Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Participants in Prevention Programs
There are many obstacles to successful participant recruitment and retention. In this Research to Practice brief, the authors briefly outline strategies to overcome these obstacles. University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Recruitment of Program Participants: Planning Questions
Based on the University of Wisconsin-Madison resource above, these questions will help you consider the scope of planning needed for successful participant recruitment and retention. ACT for Youth.
Recruitment and Retention in Youth Development Programs
This article offers research-based tips on recruitment and retention. Texas A&M Extension.
Recruiting and Retaining Young Leaders
The Lead the Way toolkit is designed for individuals who work in school-based or community health centers that want to engage youth in their mission and work. These recruitment and retention strategies are applicable to a wider audience. School-Based Health Alliance.
Internet Advertising to Recruit Youth
These brief videos offer tips and strategies for using online advertising to recruit youth into programs. Healthy Teen Network.
Activities and Strategies
Building Skills for Adulthood
This popular section of the ACT for Youth website features activities, curricula, and other resources designed to support young people in transitioning to adulthood. Skill areas include healthy development, relationships skills, parent-child communication, life skills, financial literacy, and career exploration and success. Resources for youth are also included. ACT for Youth.
Inquiry-based Instruction: Engaging Youth in Deeper Thinking
How can educators set the stage for critical thinking? Inquiry-based instruction offers an approach that goes beyond simply conveying information. ACT for Youth.
The Adolescent Brain -- Learning Strategies and Teaching Tips
Following a brief description of adolescent brain development, this resource offers several key facts about learning in adolescence along with associated teaching strategies. SPOTS Manual.
Establishing a Culture of Questioning
When students consistently ask meaningful questions, they get comfortable taking the risks that lead to learning. Edutopia.
Youth Communication publishes stories written by New York City teens about the issues they face. The stories can be used as tools to engage young people in conversations about a range of topics and challenges. Resource kits for educators include girls' issues, resilience, and diversity and cultural competence, among others. Lessons and leader guides are available as well.
Learning for Justice: Classroom Resources
This database of classroom resources, which can be searched by grade level and topic, offers a range of anti-bias activities. Learning for Justice.
Equity Conversation Guides for Young Leaders and Partners
This set of four guides provides instructions for facilitators to lead groups of young people in understanding the history of structural racism and how it operates today. Groups learn terms and concepts for discussing racism and equity, make group agreements that encourage open and productive conversation, and learn how youth organizing has produced lasting positive change. Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Evidence-Based Programs and Program Design
Building Protective and Promotive Factors in Afterschool
This brief summarizes research into what after-school programs can do to strengthen protective and promotive factors in the areas of substance use, problem behaviors, and academic performance. Child Trends.
Child Trends: What Works
What Works is a searchable register of over 700 programs that have had at least one randomized evaluation to assess child or youth outcomes related to education, life skills, and social/emotional, mental, physical, behavioral, or reproductive health. Child Trends.
Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
This site helps you identify evidence-based programs that help young people reach their full potential. Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, University of Colorado Boulder.
Youth.gov: Evidence-Based Program Directories
Multiple federal agencies have put together registries that list evidence-based programs as a way to disseminate information about programs and their level of effectiveness. Youth.gov.