Involving Youth in Positive Youth Development (2024)

Youth involvement can benefit organizations and their programs as well as the youth themselves. Programs that are developed in partnership with youth are more likely to be effective at engaging the population and, therefore, to have a greater impact. Involving youth as partners in making decisions that affect them increases the likelihood that the decisions will be accepted, adopted, and become part of their everyday lives. In addition, empowering youth to identify and respond to community needs helps them become empathetic, reflective individuals, setting them on a course to potentially continue this important work in their future. Meaningful youth engagement views youth as equal partners with adults in the decision-making process. Programs and activities are developed with youth, rather than for youth. In this kind of equal partnership, both adults and young people need to be fully engaged, open to change in how things are done, and share a unified vision for the partnership.

Considerations for organizations that want to involve youth in a meaningful way

Here are some suggested steps to consider when trying to engage young people and ensure the experience is meaningful for the youth as well as for the program.


Consider where your program currently is on the continuum of youth engagement and where you would like to be. Not every program or activity can or should always involve youth at Level 5. Youth’s level of involvement may vary based on the capacity of program staff to spend time and resources on involving youth, the purpose of involving youth, and support within the organization for involving youth. Organizational infrastructure and support for involving youth are key concerns for sustainability of youth involvement.


  • Look at your organization’s programs and determine where it would be most beneficial and feasible to involve youth. Define the purpose of involving youth in the selected activity. Based on the purpose, determine how to engage youth and the most appropriate level of involvement.
  • Talk with other organizations and agencies that are already partnering with youth to learn how they went about doing this and any recommendations they have. Collaborating with other organizations that are engaging youth may help you avoid implementation challenges that others have faced.


  • Identify how you will recruit youth and how you will keep them engaged in the process. Issues to consider are how to recruit youth who are representative of the population you serve, what skills and capabilities the youth need, and what training should be provided.
  • Provide training for organization staff who will be working with youth to ensure they have an understanding of the rationale and purpose of partnering with youth, how it will benefit both the program and the youth, and the skills necessary to effectively work with youth.


  • Develop a plan to review and monitor the youth involvement process.
  • Engage the youth and adults to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of involving youth in the organization and program as well as its impact on the youth themselves.
  • Share successes and challenges with others.

Ways to involve youth throughout the life of a program

There are many ways youth can be involved in organizational decision-making structures and program development. Involving youth from the beginning of a project is ideal; suggestions about how and where youth can be involved include the following:


Needs assessment
An example of a needs assessment is the GIS (geographic information system) project from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, through which youth identified resources in their communities. The resources were uploaded into a community-wide map, which was then used to inform community leaders about existing gaps and challenges. Learn more about Youth Mapping.

Prioritizing needs
Youth provide an excellent source of human and social capital within communities. Their networks consist of their peers as well as family members and adult friends who have access to local resources. Several federally funded programs are soliciting youth leadership in order to identify local priorities and achieve more meaningful results. These programs are tapping into the expertise of young people, relying on them to help determine the needs of their communities.


Identifying strategies to meet needs
The National 4-H Council's Engaging Youth, Serving Communities project requires adults to work with youth to organize community forum. The forum can be facilitated in partnership or solely by youth to discuss the needs of the community and how to devise a plan to address the needs.

Developing strategies/program activities
Youth can help create activities that will be of particular interest to their peers while effectively conveying program content. Many are familiar with age-appropriate team building exercises and activities that can be incorporated.


Promoting program/activities to other youth and adults
Youth should have a lead role in promoting and presenting information about the program and the activities that will be offered. Recruiting youth and getting them to participate in programs and activities can be strengthened when their peers describe what is available and how these opportunities were developed based on youth interests. Youth can also identify locations (e.g., libraries, schools, and recreational centers) that are frequented by potential participants.

School health councils/youth advisory boards
Communities are taking the voices of youth more seriously. In rural and urban areas alike, youth are participating in governing bodies such as library councils, parks and recreations boards, school boards, and even city councils. Many of these leadership groups give youth full voting privileges. Although this may not be allowed by some organizations, youth can still be given a chance to be heard as representatives of the communities in which they live.

Curriculum selection committees
Organizations and agencies are concerned about retaining youth within their programs. Before selecting a particular curriculum to use with a target audience or even after a curriculum has been selected, it may be advantageous to have youth assist in reviewing curricula or training materials to determine whether they will be appropriate for a specific age group and population.

Providing technical assistance on youth culture: How to effectively engage youth/how to work with youth
Youth can train adults who are interested in learning about youth culture. Youth can share what interests youth in general, conduct seminars on the relevance and use of innovative technologies such as web-based social networking, or serve on a panel to talk about what it takes to engage today’s youth.

Participating in action research
Young people make excellent data collectors. As they contribute to tasks such as conducting interviews, taking photos, and reviewing feedback from surveys, they are also developing analytical skills that can serve them well in other roles.


Developing evaluation instruments
Youth can brainstorm to create survey questions with adults. Once a draft of the survey is completed, youth can fill out the instrument and then provide feedback on what items were clear and unclear.

Developing criteria for success
Soliciting honest feedback from youth will help build methods into the evaluation process that can strengthen a program or project. Youth can provide insight on what outcomes they would like to see as a result of program efforts.

Collecting evaluation data
Youth can take photographs of the final results of project work, administer surveys, conduct structured interviews, and participate in focus groups.

Assisting in analyzing results
With the assistance of adults, youth can learn how to enter data into software programs, read through data to sort out common themes, and help with interpreting comments, reactions, and behaviors generated by participants. A guide (e.g., observation protocol) describing what to look for during the analysis may be helpful. The Youth Involvement and Engagement Assessment Tool can help assist organizations and community partnerships in determining how they involve youth in programs, whether youth are becoming more engaged in the community, and if certain strategies are helping to retain youth.

Presenting results
Once youth have had a role in all levels of a program, most are more than willing to share the results of their hard work. Giving them the opportunity to share what a difference the experience has made in their lives will also resonate with the audience. This is very important if youth are presenting information to local leaders who can serve as potential partners and also help make a difference in the community.


The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs created this website to provide interactive tools and resources to help youth-serving organizations and community partnerships plan, implement, and participate in effective programs for youth. Users can explore resources related to almost thirty youth-related topics such as adolescent health, juvenile justice, and school climate, as well as discover upcoming learning events and locate program funding in their local community.

Youth Engaged 4 Change
Youth Engaged 4 Change is a website that provides youth-focused resources and opportunities that inspire and empower young people to make a difference in their lives and in the world around them by improving their knowledge and leadership skills. Youth can locate opportunities for volunteering and employment, explore resources on topics of interest, and learn from peers’ own inspiring stories.

Adolescent Health: Think, Act Grow® (TAG)
TAG is a national call to action to improve adolescent health in the U.S. The section of provides action steps and resources that organizations and individuals can use to prioritize activities that can support the health and healthy development of youth. The TAG site provides access points to their resources broken down by audience: professionals, parents and caregivers, or teens. Resources also include successful strategies from across the country, multimedia tools, and other materials to help organizations get involved.

Youth Engagement at the Federal Level: A Compilation of Strategies and Practices (PDF, 53 pages)
This compilation of briefs on the youth engagement efforts of 12 agencies and departments describes the accomplishments and basic mechanisms of these strategies while also noting barriers, challenges, and vision for the future. The conversations that informed this report consistently clarified that federal policymakers engaging young adults do so with two clear goals in mind: 1) to better support completion of their agencies’ missions, and 2) to support the development of young adults.


Youth Engagement Blueprint Series
The purpose of the Youth Engagement Blueprint Series is to help organizations promote a culture and climate that encourages youth engagement at all levels. The series is comprised of several documents describing how to build capacity in four component areas: (1) viewing young people as organizational assets, (2) having the right people, (3) implementing flexible and innovative programs and practices, and (4) using science and technology effectively.

Engaging Youth in Foster Care Podcast
In this podcast for child welfare caseworkers, the CEO of Think of Us and consultant on youth issues for the Capacity Building Center for States shares his perspectives as a former youth in foster care for engaging youth in future-planning. Topics include use of social media to support youth in foster care; knowledge gaps of youth transitioning into adulthood; and tips to help youth recognize and build relationships with supportive adults in their lives.

Introduction to the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) Video Series
This six-part video series provides an overview of the NYTD and the NYTD Review, which assesses how states collect and report data on youth transitioning out of foster care. Videos cover the following topics: (1) history and implementation of NYTD, (2) NYTD data collection and reporting, (3) introduction to the NYTD review, (4) system demonstration and survey methodology, (5) case record review, and (6) stakeholder interviews.

NYTD Reviews
This webpage provides overall information on the NYTD and the purpose of the NYTD Review. Links are also provided to tools and resources for planning and conducting NYTD Reviews, final reports by state, and links to federal and state NYTD Reviewer opportunities.

Federal NYTD Reviewer Opportunity
This webpage includes resources for recruiting and training young people to serve as Reviewers on the Federal Review Team for the NYTD Reviews. Links are provided for reviewer qualifications and responsibilities, as well as downloadable recruitment postcard and fliers for distribution.


Meaningful Youth Engagement
This webpage describes youth listening session (YLS), which offer an opportunity to meaningfully engage youth, signal that their opinions are valuable, and incorporate their voices into programs. The webpage includes the Listen Up! Toolkit to help organizations start planning their YLS.

PAF Successful Strategies
This OPA webpage profiles the accomplishments of former Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF) grantees and highlights their strategies for working with pregnancy and parenting teens, women, fathers, and families.


4-H Citizenship Logic Model — Civic Engagement
This logic model summarizes 4-H inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impacts related to its members’ civic engagement efforts.

Civic Engagement: After-School Activities for Citizenship, Leadership and Service
This resource guide from the MetLife Foundation is intended for professionals and volunteers who want to provide civic engagement programs for grades three through six in an afterschool setting. The guide provides background information and activities on civic engagement to help youth develop the skills and knowledge to become civically engaged. In addition to youth activities, the guide also provides reasons why youth development organizations should be involved in afterschool programs focused on civic engagement, as well as strategies for building family and community partnerships.


Youth Advisory Councils
This webpage provides a detailed overview of Youth Advisory Councils (YACs). It describes the role YACs play in improving the schools and communities they serve, discusses how they can use data to make decisions and create action plans, and outlines the structure of a YAC.

Youth Engagement Guidance: Strategies, Tools, and Tips for Supportive and Meaningful Youth Engagement in Federal Government-Sponsored Meetings and Events
This manual provides recommendations and resources for engaging youth in government-sponsored events and meetings. The guide is broken into three sections: (1) broad goals, including strategies that are centered on informing an agency’s policies and practices on youth engagement; (2) tools and resources for government representatives to fully implement and model youth engagement, and (3) tips for government representatives to use for successful engagement of youth before, during, and after government-sponsored events.


National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education: Empowering, Educating and Building Resilience (National Strategy)
The National Strategy, as this effort is called, was jointly developed by FEMA, the Department of Education and the Red Cross with the intent of providing a starting point for a youth-focused preparedness effort. The publication lays out the importance of educating young leaders on emergency preparedness, a vision for the National Strategy and short- and long-term activities for moving the effort forward in communities.

Teen CERT: Launching and Maintaining the Training
TheCommunity Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area. The Teen CERT program was created to address preparedness and response from within high schools. This page includes information and resources to assist in locating CERT groups, starting a CERT group, as well as training information and manuals.


Guide for Engaging Youth in Decision Making and Planning
Designed as a guide for local Continuums of Care working to prevent and end youth homelessness, the document suggests steps for effectively engaging young adults in project development processes. Also included are best practices and a guide to the levels of decision-making for youth.

Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) Community Resources
This webpage contains resources helpful to all communities working on preventing and ending youth homelessness. Information is organized in three topical sections. The Resources section contains a guide for supporting communities advising youth about work-related travel as part of a Youth Action Board, Lessons Learned from the YHDP), and a youth collaboration webinar. The YHDP Coordinated Community Plans section provides links to the plans for the first two rounds of selected communities. Finally, the 100-Day Challenge section provides links to various communities’ summary and case study reports on innovative practices implemented to end youth homelessness in their communities.

Youth Collaboration Toolkit
Developed by the National Youth Forum on Homelessness and the True Colors Fund, the toolkit is a primer on effectively engaging youth in the movement to end homelessness, particularly among LGBT youth. The toolkit was developed as a resource for those whose work affects LGBT youth experiencing homelessness; however, the information included can be applied to anyone who works with or on behalf of youth and young adults. Topics covered include creating meaningful youth-adult partnerships, identifying barriers, undoing adultism, and guiding principles for collaboration.


Youth Development & Youth Leadership: A Background Paper
Recognizing that youth development practices are foundational to all other youth work, this paper defines and differentiates youth development and youth leadership programming and activities for youth service practitioners, administrators, and policymakers. The paper includes a comprehensive table of the five areas of youth development with intended outcomes and suggested activities for addressing them, a glossary of terms and a comparison of youth development models.

Youth Development and Leadership: Opportunities to Develop Connecting Competencies
This Innovative Strategies Practice Brief focuses on building young adults’ connecting competencies — positive social behaviors, skills, and attitudes that help youth form and maintain positive relationships with supportive adults. This brief features youth programs recognized by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD)/Youth as Innovative Strategies and feature programs and organizations that serve youth with disabilities in some capacity.

Guideposts for Success
In this guide, NCWD/Youth identifies the supports youth, including those with disabilities, need to transition successfully into adulthood. Based on research of what all youth need to make this transition, the Guideposts framework provides: a statement of principles; a direction that will lead to better outcomes; and a way to organize policy and practice. This framework is intended for use by youth and families, state level policymakers, administrators and local policymakers, and youth service practitioners.


Positive Youth Development Measurement Toolkit
Developed by YouthPower Learning, this toolkit provides those implementing youth programming resources and tools on how to use a positive youth development (PYD) approach for evaluating youth-focused programming. The toolkit provides an overview of PYD and the PYD Framework, moves into a step by step discussion of PYD constructs and illustrative indicators, and offers a series of considerations for adapting the indicators and measures to local contexts. While developed with the USAID program cycle in mind, it has broad applicability for other programs and is intended for implementers, evaluators, and funders of youth programs.

Youth Programming Assessment Tool
This tool allows youth-serving organizations to gather feedback from key staff and youth on programming and practices to identify areas for improvement.

Toolkit for Youth Inclusion in Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG)
This online toolkit provides USAID field and headquarters staff, as well as national and international partners, with information and resources related to designing, managing, and evaluating youth and DRG-related programs, or programs that include components focused on youth.

Feed the Future Project Design Guide for Youth Inclusive Agriculture and Food Systems
These guides provide USAID staff and implementing partners with approaches, frameworks, and tools to design agriculture programs that promote successful and meaningful youth engagement with the U.S. Feed the Future Initiative and the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy.

Workforce Development and Youth Employment Assessment: Nigeria
This report from Youth Power includes an assessment of the youth employment landscape in Nigeria, providing details on the larger contextual issues that frame workforce development and youth employment.

Mission-Wide Youth Assessment: Zambia
This USAID report reviews youth policies and strategies of the Government of the Republic of Zambia and other stakeholders to ensure that the views of youth are fully considered. The report makes recommendations for evidence-based interventions, models, and approaches that may benefit current and future USAID/Zambia programming related to youth.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Rapid Youth Assessment and Activity Design
These USAID reports summarize 1) the findings of a desk review examining literature relevant to youth in the Democratic Republic of Congo across a multitude of sectors: education, economic opportunity, civic engagement, health, conflict and stabilization, humanitarian assistance, and positive youth development; and 2) a rapid field assessment activity in which research teams held focus group discussions with more than 150 youth between the ages of 18 and 24 who represented different youth segments.

Cross-Sectoral Youth Assessment: Ethiopia
This assessment and brief, commissioned by USAID/Ethiopia, aims to better understand the status and aspirations of Ethiopian youth aged 15-29 as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. It explores assets and unmet needs of Ethiopian youth, institutional efforts to address these needs, evidence-based approaches to current youth development programming, and strategic guidance for the design and development of future programming.

USAID Development Objective 2: Honduras Youth Assessment
This assessment and brief, commissioned by USAID/Honduras, provides insights on identified aspirations and challenges among youth in Honduras and describes promising programs and structures that promote positive youth development (PYD) in Honduras, as well as recommendations for the future of PYD in Honduras.

Liberia Youth Assessment
This cross-sectoral youth assessment and report, commissioned by USAID, uses a desk review and field visits to six priority counties to capture the experiences, aspirations, challenges, and assets of Liberian youth ages 15-35. The analysis uses a positive youth development lens to offer a snapshot of the youth experience across multiple sectors, including education and skills development, employment and entrepreneurship, agriculture, health, security, social engagement, and civic participation.

Cross-Sectoral Youth Assessment: Kyrgyz Republic
This assessment and report, commissioned by USAID, provide information on the youth and youth initiatives in Kyrgyz Republic, the National Youth Policy, and youth development plans across the Kyrgyz Republic. This assessment uses a desk review, peer group discussion, and interviews to capture assets and challenges in the lives of Kyrgyz youth. It also describes promising programs and structures that promote positive youth development (PYD) in Kyrgyz Republic as well as recommendations for the future of PYD in Kyrgyz Republic.

Rwanda Youth Assessment
This assessment and brief, commissioned by USAID/Rwanda, aims to better understand the status and aspirations of Rwandan youth aged 16-30 as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. It explores challenges and priorities of Rwandan youth with the goal of identifying opportunities to support youth and to engage them as participants, and beneficiaries, of Rwanda-owned development solutions.

Cross Sectoral Youth Assessment: Somalia
This assessment and brief, commissioned by USAID/Somalia, aims to better understand the status and aspirations of Somalian youth aged 15-30 as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. The assessment also aims to assess models/approaches for implementation of evidence-based programming for adolescents and young people.

Cross-Sectoral Youth Assessment: Armenia
This assessment and report, commissioned by USAID/Armenia, aims to better understand the status and aspirations of Armenian youth aged 15-29 as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. The assessment provides a detailed understanding of the drivers that motivate Armenian youth, identifies the obstacles or constraints that undermine their contributing to Armenia’s political, economic, and social well-being in a meaningful way, and describes opportunities to optimally support youth and engage them as participants, and beneficiaries, of sustainable Armenia-owned development solutions.

What Works in Youth and Peace and Security
This document, created by YouthPower, seeks to identify best practices, bright spots, and possible opportunities for replication with a primary focus on preventing violent extremism/countering violent extremism.

What Works in Youth and Health
This page, developed by YouthPower, provides a quick overview of available evidence related to multiple youth health topics, including reproductive health, mental health, substance abuse, enabling environments, and key populations.

What Works in Youth and Agriculture, Food Security, and Nutrition
This page, developed by YouthPower, provides an overview of the current understanding of youth involvement in the agricultural sector in sub-Saharan Africa, constraints to youth engagement in agriculture, existing youth and agriculture programming, areas for future research, and assessment tools for youth in agri-food systems.

What Works in Cross-Sectoral Skills for Youth
This page, developed by YouthPower, presents an overview of the existing evidence on how cross-sectoral skills, also known as “soft skills,” are perceived and valued by different stakeholders, the types of cross-sectoral skills that have the most impact in improving outcomes for youth across sectors, and promising practices in implementing and measuring skills-development interventions.

What Works in Youth and Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance
This page, developed by YouthPower, includes resources that explain how democracy, human rights, and governance programs can assist young people in overcoming barriers to their political participation and transforming power structures to attain meaningful political influence. These resources provide guidance for structuring all types of assistance for youth political and civic participation.

Asante Africa Foundation
This foundation focuses on educating East African youth by partnering with local communities to address the root causes preventing children from receiving quality education and to provide skills to help students apply their knowledge beyond the classroom to thrive in a global economy.

Disabled Women Empowerment Center
This organization aims to encourage full participation, inclusion, and contribution of Nepali women with disabilities in the community, while facilitating programs to protect their rights, and to improve their social, political, educational, economic and psycho-social status.

The Dream Factory Foundation
This organization empowers youth in South Africa from marginalized and underprivileged backgrounds to transition successfully into adulthood and contribute to society.

Kibera Community Empowerment Organization
This organization’s youth-led Young Mothers Incubation program provides a safe space for young mothers in Kibera, Kenya living with disabilities and those who have been subjected to stigma, discrimination, and sexual abuse.

Safeplan Uganda
This youth-founded organization aims to empower young people in Uganda through skills and awareness training to increase their ability to find employment.

The Biz Nation
This organization’s Young Women Productive Education Program provides young women in underserved communities in the Caribbean cost in Colombia with computers and free internet access as well as entrepreneurship, innovation, and vocational training.

Visionaria Network
This program combines hands-on learning and a “visionaria” (female visionary) mindset to empower young people to develop and enact their own visions for sustainable development projects in their communities.

Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia, Tajikistan
This organization seeks to conduct research on the impact of local and international efforts in youth civic engagement and peacebuilding by identifying boosters and barriers to youth participation, the impact of youth participation on peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism, and the contextual factors that affect the impact of such projects and what can be scaled up.

Youth Choosing Peace: Comparative Research in Northern Mali
This study will examine youth engagement in peacebuilding and conflict in Mali’s Bourem-Inaly and Lafia, two communes with very different dynamics regarding youth participating in peacebuilding and conflict, with the goal of gaining transferable approaches for youth engagement in peacebuilding across contexts.

UNOY Peacebuilders
This youth-led participatory action research documents and examines young people’s roles in peacebuilding activities in Afghanistan, Libya, Sierra Leone, and Colombia and studies the factors that enable or constrain these roles.

Equal Access International
This grant will research the relationship between empowerment and radicalization in Nigeria’s northern youth population. It will aim to reframe the current understanding of youth radicalization, empowerment, agency, and self-actualization in social change, peacebuilding, and positive youth development work.

Mercy Corps
This organization’s program GRL Power aims to equip adolescent girls with the skills to conduct research on their own research topics that impact their lives and to share these learnings with INGOs, national NGOs, UN agencies, the Jordanian government, and universities.

Waves for Change
This grant will help the South Africa-based Waves for Change Surf Therapy program develop a framework for a gender-sensitive program design, allowing staff to improve gender norms through this community-led initiative in an area where locals believe girls cannot do the same things as boys.

Education Development Center, Inc.: Identifying Cross-Cutting Non-Cognitive Skills for Positive Youth Development
This grant aimed to improve understanding of how mismatches in youth’s and stakeholders’ perceptions of soft skills, as well as gendered perceptions of soft skills, can affect a youth’s employment or education outcomes.

JA Worldwide
This grant, in partnership with JA Worldwide's global network, worked with six young people to create a set of videos that document the experiences of participants in the grantee’s program that engages high-school-aged students in organizing and operating an actual business.

Komo Learning Centres: KLC Youth-Led Club Documentary Project
This grant produced nine videos detailing the concept, activities, challenges, and lessons learned of the grantee’s Youth-Led Club.

Restless Development USA: Inspire, Influence and Inform: A Video Series Highlighting Young People’s Role in Positive Youth Development Programs
This grant supported the creation of a video series featuring the perspectives and experiences of young people in three countries across Africa and South Asia that address the benefits, impacts, best practices, and challenges of youth engagement.

Technical Brief: Making the Pitch for Youth Engagement
This technical brief provides tips gathered from members of the YouthPower Youth Engagement Community of Practice for pitching meaningful and ongoing youth engagement to different actors.

Six Tips for Increasing Meaningful Youth Engagement in Programs
This recommendations included in this summary represent a synthesis of the feedback shared at a spring 2016 meeting of the YouthPower Youth Engagement Community of Practice, in which group members brainstormed answers to the question, “what are the key components of youth engagement in programs?”

Measuring Youth Engagement Guidance for Monitoring and Evaluating Youth Programs
This resource provides a list of possible ‘targets of measurement’ that could be adapted for measuring engagement of youth in programs, community groups, and governing bodies.

Youth Engagement Measurement Guide
This resource from YouthPower provides an overview of the importance of youth engagement, describes youth engagement measurement and youth engagement indicators, addresses how youth can be involved in youth engagement monitoring and evaluation, and provides a list of additional resources.

YouthPower Learning Brief: Promising Practices in Engaging Youth in Peace and Security and PVE/CVE
This document, created by YouthPower Learning's Community of Practice for Youth in Peace and Security, seeks to identify best practices, bright spots, and possible opportunities for replication with a primary focus on preventing violent extremism/countering violent extremism (PVE/CVE).

PYD Approaches to Mitigate Sexual Violence and Coercion Among Adolescents: Building Choice, Voice, and Agency for Prevention and Response
This brief highlights examples of successful programs aimed at reducing the occurrence of sexual coercion and force and describes strategies for responding to these issues. It also discusses how the impact of sexual coercion could be reduced by building assets, especially social skills, agency, and youth empowerment, as a part of positive youth development (PYD) programs.

Does Your Program Reflect Gender-Transformative or Positive Youth Development Practices? A Checklist
This checklist aims to help development practitioners who want to ensure their programs incorporate good practices for gender-transformative and positive youth development programming.

Technical Brief: Measuring Youth Competencies Across Contexts: Lessons From Implementers on How to Adapt Soft Skills Measurement Tools
This technical brief, developed by YouthPower Learning's Community of Practice on Cross-Sectoral Skills, gathers and synthesizes lessons learned from implementers’ experiences adapting soft skills measurement tools in diverse geographic and cultural contexts through a brief scan of the literature and three implementer case studies.

Learning Agenda for Positive Youth Development
The purpose of this learning agenda is to define priority questions in the field of positive youth development in low and middle-income countries and provide collective guidance for a common agenda to address evidence gaps and invest in evidence-building activities related to positive youth development.
YouthLead is a free, membership-based network intended for young global changemakers between the ages of 15 and 35 to connect with like-minded youth, mentors, resources, and events. Member information and discussion groups are available to registered YouthLead members only. Both changemakers and non-changemakers (i.e., non-members) can access the website’s public resources, including information about social and entrepreneurial programs in various communities; grants, scholarships, and other opportunities for funding projects; global networking events; and user submitted resources in the Learning Hub.

Youth Compass: A Strategic Guide to Strengthen Youth Activities
This guide describes Youth Compass, a tool used by USAID to achieve the intended results of a youth activity, bring those results to scale, and sustain them. The tool can help analyze the weaknesses of an activity and identify, and implement, opportunities to strengthen it.

Youth in Research: Youth Speak Program in Morocco (PDF, 209 pages)
This quick start guide, developed with support from USAID and the Moroccan Ministry of National Education, provides an overview of Youth Speak, a program created to reduce dropout among middle school students in Morocco. It includes information on the foundational principles, implementation, and activities of the program.

Youth Leadership: Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)
This program, supported through a partnership of USAID and private sector companies, civic organizations, NGOs, and national and regional public sector entities, aims to build the leadership skills and entrepreneurship of African youth.

Peace Corps

Life Skills and Leadership Manual (PDF, 400 pages)
This manual aims to help Peace Corps Volunteers, and their counterparts who work with youth worldwide, to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes integral to three youth in development sector competencies: 1) support healthy lifestyles and prepare youth for family life, 2) prepare youth for work, and 3) engage youth as active citizens.

Health and HIV Life Skills Manual
This manual arms Corps Volunteers to work with their communities to support youth in building important life skills for sexual and reproductive health as well as HIV/AIDS mitigation.

Youth Clubs Toolkit
This toolkit provides guidance, checklists, and tools to support Peace Corps volunteers in the implementation and improvement of quality youth clubs.

Youth Camps Manual: GLOW and Other Leadership Camps
This manual guides volunteers in the planning and implementation of Camp GLOW and other leadership camps. The guide provides a timeline for planning, ideas to expand sustainability and impact, sample camp activities, counselor training information, and related resources.

Youth Mentoring Workbook
This workbook aims to help Peace Corps Volunteers foster and maintain mentoring relationships with youth in their community, while structuring and guiding those relationships toward evidence-based outcomes.

Youth Livelihoods: Employability
This training is designed to be delivered by Peace Corps volunteers to youth and young adults who want to learn about employability. The training addresses seeking, interviewing for, and securing a job and navigating the world of work.

Peace Corps Knowledge Hub
This virtual library allows Peace Corps staff and volunteers to share and access agency and community-authored resources.

Additional Federal Resources

School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth
This publication identifies six strategies that teachers, administrators and other school staff, and parents can implement to increase the extent to which students feel connected to school.

Positive Youth Development Measurement Toolkit: A Practical Gudie for Implementors of Youth Programs (PDF; 124 pages)
This toolkit offers practical strategies for collaborating with youth. It includes information on partnering with youth, the purpose of PYD, glossary of PYD language, strategies for implementing PYD in an organization, and sample focus group questions to solicit youth input.

Reconnecting Youth and Community: A Youth Development Approach(PDF; 59 pages)
This resource focuses on how communities can shift from a problem-focused approach to serving youth to a community-youth involvement model that captures the talents, abilities, and worth of youth.

Non-Federal Resources

Core Principles of Engaging Youth People in Community Change
This report from the Forum for Youth Investment aims to help organizations empower youth, especially those least like to succeed without help, to drive powerful and positive community change.

PYD 101 Online Courses
This series of short courses introduces positive youth development to professionals new to youth work, volunteers, and advocates.

Achieving Authentic Youth Engagement: Core Values & Guiding Principles
This two-page fact sheet, developed by the Jim Case Youth Opportunity Initiative, presents three core values and related guiding principles for developing successful partnerships between young people and adults.

Youth Lead the Change: Participatory Budgeting
This report examines the work of Youth Lead the Change: Participatory Budgeting Boston, a program that enables young people from across the city to suggest ideas for capital projects.

2007 CFSR Toolkit for Youth Involvement – Engaging Youth in the Child Family Service Review (PDF, 51 pages)
This toolkit offers practical strategies for collaborating with youth on the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR), an extensive review of state child welfare systems by the federal government. It includes information to keep in mind when partnering with youth, feedback forms and de-briefing strategies, and strategies for implementing surveys and conducting focus groups.

Youth Collaboration Toolkit
Developed as a partnership between the National Youth Forum on Homelessness and the True Colors Fund, this toolkit aims to promote authentic partnership with young people receiving services and the affirming adults in their lives. It describes practical tips, scenarios, and strategies that can ensure young people are authentically engaged in the decisions that directly impact them and provides concrete steps to identify and address barriers to authentic collaboration.

Youth Development and Leadership in Programs
This brief developed by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth describes how administrators and policymakers can create programs that serve all youth, including youth with disabilities.

Center for Collaborative Action Research
The Center for Collaborative Action Research links educators, researchers, and community members with the goal of creating a deep understanding of educational problems within the school context and to encourage evidence-based reasoning to solve these problems.

Engaging Youth in Work Experiences
This Innovative Strategies Practice brief provides practical examples and resources used by promising and exemplary youth programs that engage youth in work experiences. The youth programs featured in this brief have been recognized as Innovative Strategies by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth.

Improving Public Health through Youth Development
This supplement to the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice (November 2006) presents and discusses youth development approaches in the context of public health programs. The purpose of the supplement is to acquaint public health practitioners with the basic concepts of youth development and to provide guidance on how to put these concepts into practice.

Participatory Evaluation with Young People (PDF, 52 pages)
This guide provides tools and learning activities to use in a community to practice participatory evaluation, including evaluation questions, steps in the process, methods of gathering information, and strategies for creating change.

Youth-Adult Partnerships in Evaluation (Y-AP/E) (PDF, 48 pages)
This resource guide is intended to help translate research into practice by identifying the most important “leverage points” that have come out of more recent research on youth participatory research and Y-AP in evaluation. Several tip sheets are provided that cover topics such as understanding the fundamentals of evaluation research, preparing for the most significant challenges of Y-AP/E, and creating a supportive organizational culture for Y-AP/E.

Involving Youth in Positive Youth Development (2024)


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