Youth Development

Building Connections to Better Serve Youth in Foster Care
Building Connections to Better Serve Youth in Foster Care National Foster Care Awareness Month Blog Series (Part 1 of 5) Click For Other Blogs In Series Mentoring is essentially about relationships. More than meeting program goals or benchmarks, the real benefit of mentoring comes from the relationship built between the youth and the mentor over time. It is this relationship that fosters positive youth development, skill-building, and personal growth that are the touchstones of the mentoring model. Benefits of having a mentor include improved academic outcomes, increased relationship skills, enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence, improved behavior and interpersonal skills, and a [Read further...]
#OneOfMANY: Thoughts On Youth Services from Tucson, AZ
#OneOfMANY: Thoughts On Youth Services from Tucson, AZ MANY is traveling all across the country, meeting with member organizations, talking about their programs, and identifying trends and issues that are happening in the youth services field across the U.S. We had the privilege of sitting down with Program Director David Simpson – who works at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson in Arizona – about what drives them to continue their commitment to the work and to the community. This is what they had to say: Q: What would the youth in your program say is the biggest strength they have? The [Read further...]
Reflections On NAEH 2018: The Path To The End of Youth Homelessness
February Marks Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month 2018
Nelson Mandela once said that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” It is with this belief that we recognize Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month this February as an opportunity to educate ourselves and those around us about the prevalence of teen dating violence. Each year it is estimated that 1.5 million high school students in our country experience physical abuse from a dating partner. There are many resources available to provide support to victims and assist service providers and communities in their efforts to decrease the prevalence of dating violence among young people. [Read further...]
Shining Light Toolkit: Spirituality and Involving The Faith Community
Research has identified faith and spirituality as a resilience factor for those subjugated to or at risk for sexual exploitation.1 However, far too often youth-serving organizations fail to attend to faith and spirituality when designing program services and in supporting mentoring relationships. Faith communities can be a major resource for these types of programs, yet we often do not include them in the conversation of serving victims/survivors of trafficking and at-risk youth. Engaging these communities not only benefits the mentees, but can potentially offer another support system for programs and mentors.
Shining Light Toolkit: Self-Care and Mindfulness
Stress is a natural component of everyday life. However, those who work in direct service professions (either as volunteers or career professionals) will likely encounter additional stress because of the nature of their responsibilities. These individuals walk alongside and support people who are navigating various stages of their healing journey. They are exposed to stories about past and current trauma, and such exposure can have a significant impact.1,2,3 Staff and mentors working with young people who have been commercially sexually exploited can experience what is referred to as vicarious trauma, secondary trauma, or secondary traumatic stress. This occurs when a staff or mentor goes beyond hearing about trauma to re-experiencing it along with the person.2,3,4 The continual exposure to traumatic material can result in both physical and psychological symptoms.5 The accumulation of this stress over a period of time increases the risk for compassion fatigue and burnout. Self-care and mindfulness can be effective ways for staff and mentors to manage the additional stressors of supporting victims/survivors.
Breaking: Results from Unprecedented National Survey on Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness
Led by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, Voices of Youth Count is an initiative to understand, address and prevent youth homelessness. Chapin Hall, using its substantial research and policy assets, has conducted the most comprehensive research to date on youth homelessness, incorporating youth voices to develop achievable solutions. This research creates a foundation on which we can build solutions – effective policies and practices – to end homelessness for young people.  Today, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago released results from an unprecedented national survey on unaccompanied youth homelessness in the United States. The study, Missed Opportunities: [Read further...]
Mi Hermana’s Keeper Toolkit – Outcomes Of The Family Keys Program
Developed by MANY member agency Southwest Key Programs, the recently released Mi Hermana’s Keeper Toolkit is a promising practice guide that was developed based on a qualitative research study of the outcomes of the Family Keys Program, an OJJDP Best Practice Model created by Southwest to keep Latina youth from becoming formally involved with the juvenile justice system. The Mi Hermana’s Keeper Toolkit is for service providers, program administrators, researchers, policy analysts, and key stakeholders who are supporting Latina youth in prevention programs that aim to decrease the number of youth being referred to or placed in the juvenile justice [Read further...]
5 Things You Can Do NOW to Help Homeless Youth Have a Positive School Year
It’s the dog days of summer so most of us don’t even have school on our radars.  But August is the perfect time to start planning for the year ahead.  Education is the key to realizing an independent and healthy adulthood. It sets up access to opportunities for employment and career pathways. If you support a young person who is homeless or unstably housed, then you know firsthand that having a positive educational experience can be elusive from some students.  School absences that result in knowledge gaps, transitions due to moving locations, access to clothing, hygiene and school supplies, unmet [Read further...]
May Is National Foster Care Awareness Month
May marks National Foster Care Awareness Month, which acknowledges foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections. This year, the theme for National Foster Care Month is “Empowering Caregivers, Strengthening Families,” which emphasizes the importance of identifying, developing, and supporting prospective and current foster parents and kinship caregivers. The website highlights best practices that have resulted in new and strengthened recruitment and retention strategies. Access the resources at https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/resources/. Resources are available for the following groups through childwelfare.gov: For Parents For [Read further...]