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ACT for Youth

Understanding Positive Youth Development

When we say "positive youth development" (or simply "youth development"), we are talking about an approach that communities can take to become great places for young people to grow up. These pages and resources explain the principles of positive youth development (PYD), and address practical issues that communities and programs may face.

What is Youth Development?
This section presents the principles of positive youth development, the research behind the PYD approach, and outcomes that PYD practitioners seek to achieve with young people.

Youth Development in Communities
Positive youth development happens when communities work with youth to create developmentally rich environments. This section looks at the services, opportunities, and supports that youth need from communities; community collaboration issues; and how to engage partners for a community initiative in support of youth.

Youth Engagement
Youth engagement is a central principle of positive youth development. For many reasons, meaningful youth engagement is often difficult to accomplish. This section defines authentic youth engagement, suggests ways to involve young people at the program and organizational levels, and offers resources.

Youth Development and Evaluation
This section offers an overview of the types and methods of evaluation, and discusses Youth Participatory Evaluation -- engaging youth in evaluation and research -- in some detail.

Sustaining Youth Development Efforts
This page links to tools that will help you address the long-term stability of your youth development program or initiative.