Saturday, October 25, 2014

Positive Youth Development

At Aliquippa Impact, we do much more than simply provide programs for youth.  Rather, we are providing opportunities for youth within a thoughtful framework of positive youth development.

Our programs utilize a particular philosophy of youth development programming recommended by the National Research Council in 2002 in a study entitled “Community Programs to Promote Youth Development.” In its study, the National Research Council identified certain physical, intellectual, psychological, and social assets that every youth program, regardless of its particular activity focus, ought to facilitate in youth.  It is our hope that all of our programs provide the positive youth development atmosphere that is needed to facilitate the growth of assets in the youth who attend our programs.

Aliquippa Impact has for years now utilized this positive youth development framework and asset building focus in all of its programming. In order for particular assets to be developed in the lives of youth, our programs reflect the recommendations of the National Research Council:

  • Our programs are safe – psychologically and physically. The safety of our programs are guarded by safe place polices that protect both staff and youth.
  • Our programs provide structure that is developmentally appropriate with clear expectations for behavior.
  • Our programs provide emotional and moral supports.
  • Our programs provide youth with the opportunity to experience supportive adult relationships.
  • Our programs provide youth with the opportunity to feel a sense of belonging and of being valued.
  • Our programs provide youth with the opportunity to learn how to form close, durable human relationships with peers that support and reinforce healthy behaviors.
  • Our programs give youth the opportunity to develop positive social values.
  • By providing certain activities, our programs give youth the opportunity for skill building and mastery.
  • Our programs give youth the space to develop confidence in their own abilities.
  • Our programs give youth some level of opportunity to make a contribution to the community and to feel a sense of empowerment.
  • Our programs seek to form strong links with other influencers in the lives of youth – families, schools, and broader community resources.

We believe that creating this type of environment at each program is the key to seeing lasting development in the lives of young people. By providing our staff with thorough training in creating this type of program environment, our programs are then able to assist youth in developing certain important social, intellectual, spiritual, relational, and psychological assets.  The more opportunity students have to develop assets and rise to their God-given potential, the more likely they are to resist environments that can be harmful to positive youth development and lead to at-risk behaviors.



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