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Preparing Youth for Adulthood

Find new resources each month in the ACT for Youth Update!
Community Partners

(New York State)

For partners in this effort, seek out those who offer workshops on relationship building or communication skills, such as local community centers, cultural centers, youth ministries, Planned Parenthood, and violence prevention groups.

If you have a youth bureau or Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H program in your area, they may be able to refer you to local resources.

ACT for Youth Highlight
In this narrated presentation, Janis Whitlock provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities of emotional development in adolescence.

Adolescent Emotional Development: Foundation for a Healthy Life

Narrated Presentation

PowerPoint Presentation

Helping Youth Build Relationship Skills

Adolescence is a time to explore and develop emotional and social competence. On one hand teens are learning to perceive, assess, and manage their own emotions; on the other hand they are engaged in building their capacity to be sensitive and effective in relating to others: friends, family, and adults in their lives, as well as girlfriends and boyfriends.

Healthy relationships require communication and intimacy skills; they also rely on individual characteristics such as emotional self-regulation, social confidence, and empathy. Often youth programs do not focus explicitly on promoting healthy relationships, but they may include activities that practice pro-social behaviors and communication skills. The resources below emphasize building healthy relationship skills.

For more resources, visit the Relationship Skills page of the Social and Emotional Learning Toolkit. To learn more about this stage of development, visit Romantic Relationships in Adolescence. For resources on consent, as well as understanding and coping with unhealthy relationships, see Dating Violence.

Program Activities and Curricula

Love Notes
This curriculum engages youth (age 16-24) in exploring healthy versus unhealthy relationships; decision making and goal setting; negotiation and interpersonal skills; and their own values in relation to intimate relationships.

Relationship Smarts PLUS
This curriculum for grades 9-12 covers values, peer pressure, attraction and infatuation, creating positive relationships, assessing relationship health, breaking up, and more.

Rights, Respect, Responsibility
This K-12 sexuality education curriculum from Advocates for Youth includes relationship lesson plans for different grade levels.

Loveisrespect Educators Toolkits
Loveisrespect created these toolkits to provide guidance to middle and high school educators who want to lead discussions on healthy relationships. The toolkits can be used on their own or to supplement a larger curriculum.

AMAZE: Healthy Relationships Videos
Created for youth ages 10-14, these videos can be used in conjunction with relationship skills programming.

The Art of Loving Well: A Character Education Curriculum for Today's Teenagers
This literature-based relationship skills curriculum explores a wide variety of relationships, including friendships and family, infatuations and first romances, and enduring commitments. Free download.

Life Planning Education
This Advocates for Youth curriculum includes sections on healthy relationships and social skills development. Free download.

It's All One Curriculum
Offered by the Population Council, this manual and activity guide feature sections on interpersonal relationships and communication. Free download.

Safe Dates
This curriculum addresses dating violence and healthy relationship skills.

Coaching Boys into Men Playbook
This tool from the Family Violence Prevention Fund engages coaches in helping young athletes develop healthy respect for women and positive values regarding relationships. Free download.

FLASH: Lesson Plans for Special Education
The Family Life and Sexual Health (FLASH) curriculum from Seattle and King County Public Health offers lesson plans and activities for special education students. Free download.

Resources for Young People

Romantic Relationships
Sponsored by ACT for Youth, the ACT Youth Network site features a section on romantic relationships. Young people can take the "relationship checkup quiz," learn about the "love chemicals" they may experience, and find tips on everything from breaking up to building great relationships.

Teens Health: Relationships
The Teens Health site from Nemours covers a wide range of topics, including a section on relationships. The site includes audio for visually impaired youth and is also available in Spanish.

Stay Teen
This site includes quizzes and articles to help teens better understand relationships (as well as sex, birth control, and abstinence). The site is sponsored by Power to Decide, formerly the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Loveisrespect: Healthy Relationships
Here, Loveisrespect offers an overview of healthy and unhealthy relationships, with tips on communication, setting boundaries, signs of abuse, and more.

Center for Young Women's Health: Healthy Relationships
Boston Children's Hospital sponsors this site for teen women. This section explores healthy relationships, including family, friends, and dating.

Sex, Etc.: Love & Relationships
In addition to offering "sex education by teens, for teens," this popular site includes many articles on relationships. The site is a project of Answer at Rutgers University.

That's Not Cool
This site helps teens understand and address digital harassment.

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