Celebrate Ways That Communities Support Youth

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Week three of NAHM is all about celebrating ways communities can and do support youth! 

Teachers, coaches, school administrators and community members can employ a positive youth development approach to engaging young people. Building on adolescents’ strengths, programs that involve youth are proven to be more effective at engaging them and have a greater impact. 

Schools can provide:

  • Health education 
  • Connect young people to support services
  • Make school environments safer for learning and recreation

In the past, practitioners, policy makers and researchers focused on eradicating singular issues prominent in youth, like:

  • Teen pregnancy
  • Substance abuse
  • Juvenile delinquency

Over time, communities found that using young people as a resource and implementing positive asset building were both critical for positive youth development. Moving forward, communities at large consider topics like program implementation and effectiveness to best support youth and promote positive outcomes. 

A major factor that influences youth is the protective factors in their lives:

  • Supportive family members 
  • Peer groups with a positive influence
  • Caring adults throughout their community 
  • Community engagement and school activities

Involve youth! When organizations use youth involvement to plan, implement AND evaluate programs that support youth, they are more likely to reach and engage them. Youth can and should be involved with creating activities that will benefit and be of interest to their peers. 

When communities support youth with programs that will benefit them and they enjoy, it enhances young people’s strengths and promotes successful outcomes. 

Youth Programs and Education Offered at ICAN

At ICAN, the TORCH program works with youth by utilizing social-emotional learning programs, such as TOP. During TOP Club, youth complete positive youth development lessons and twenty hours of Community Service Learning to give back to their community. In addition, clubs participate in focus groups to obtain youth input on group activities and direction. ICAN also offers programming such as KEY Club through school-based services as well as training, education and professional development to teachers, school administrators, and youth serving professionals to help foster a strong, supportive community for our youth and adolescents. 

This publication was made possible by Grant Number TP1AH000263-01-00 from the HHS Office of Population Affairs. Contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of Population Affairs.