Positive Youth Development refers to a theoretical framework that focuses on building and supporting the positive attributes of youth and involving youth as partners in programs and the community. Research has shown that the single most significant protective factor we can provide is a strong, positive relationship with a caring adult role model. To this end, a number of community organizations focus on building a safety among families, schools, businesses, faith communities and governmental organizations. Here are a few good examples—
- CHARACTER COUNTS! In Iowa was created as a legacy of the Iowa Sesquicentennial Celebration. The Institute for Character Development (ICD) provides training and promotes the six pillars of character– trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
- The Iowa Asset Building Coalition is a statewide organization that links and supports community initiatives that promote positive youth development. It relies on a strong connection with the Search Institute in Minneapolis. The Developmental Assets are building blocks to success that all youth need and everyone can help build.
- Iowa 4-H programs provide opportunities for youth to develop life skills they can use throughout their lives. Iowa 4-H ensures that every youth will have the opportunity to participate in 4-H experiences that strengthen a young person’s sense of belonging, generosity, mastery, and independence. 4-H builds on a century of experience as it fosters positive youth development that is based on the needs and strengths of youth, their families, and communities. Iowa 4-H follows the principles of experiential learning and draws on the knowledge base of Iowa State University and other institutions of higher education in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. The Iowa 4-H Program’s vision and mission clearly view youth as partners working with staff and volunteers, and as full participants in planning and working for individual and community changes.
- The Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development is a network of state agencies committed to improving results among Iowa’s youth through the adoption and application of positive youth development principles and practices. ICYD has been recognized nationally for its work in coordinating youth development efforts at the state level.