Youth Development & Strengths

What is Youth Development & Strengths?

Youth is an important developmental period when individuals acquire the cognitive, social, and emotional skills and abilities required to navigate life. It is also a time where young people are facing behavior choices and gaining more autonomy and decision-making opportunities. Young people’s environments (home, schools, activities) and relationships (peers/friends, parents/guardians, teachers/coaches) help shape their experiences, development, and path toward adulthood. During this stage of development, youth are developing their identities, exploring areas that interest them, and building their competencies.

Some social service programs focus on ensuring the positive development of our youth. They promote positive messages to youth about avoiding harmful risk behaviors such as alcohol, tobacco, and drug use; sex; and violence. They encourage and promote connections between youth and their families and communities, and help youth identify healthy activities and interests.

NPC Research and Youth Development & Strengths

Youth Development 1NPC Research has interest and expertise in positive child and youth development. We have developed a strength-based assessment instrument and process for use in juvenile justice, substance abuse treatment, and other youth service settings and we train social service staff on the use of strength-based practices. We have conducted research and evaluation projects on mentoring, mental health, culturally specific (e.g., Native American youth learning about traditional skills and activities), and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.

NPC provides academically rigorous research and evaluation of youth development programs and processes while maintaining a strong commitment to working collaboratively with program staff and other key stakeholders. In addition, we report our findings and present our recommendations in ways that are designed to be used in policy development, program implementation, program management, and service delivery.

NPC staff working in the area of youth development – Jennifer Aborn, Kate KissickJuliette MackinKelly Jarvis, and Jerod Tarte