As summarized in the Part I, evidence suggests that the more positive features a setting has, the greater contribution it will make to young people’s positive development. The list of features of positive developmental settings we have presented was generated primarily from evidence about families, schools, and neighborhoods. Given that the focus of this report is on community programs for youth, we turn now to a review of the ways in which these programs incorporate features of positive developmental settings and provide opportunities for young people to acquire personal and social assets and promote their positive development.
What can community programs for youth do to give each person who walks in the door the best chance possible of acquiring the assets described in Part I of this report? How do we make sure that programs engage all youth and support their development?
In this part we provide examples of community programs that promote adolescent development. There is great diversity in the structure, focus, and size of these programs. Funding mechanisms, staff training, and management styles also vary. Programs differ in their objectives and the emphasis they place on particular program features. But all programs can strive toward incorporating developmental opportunities while working to meet the needs of individual participants.
This part of the report reviews studies and evaluations that detail how programs incorporate features of positive developmental settings and their impact on the outcomes for adolescents. Chapter 5 considers findings from a number of nonexperimental studies using various methods to collect information; Chapter 6 looks at findings from a set of comprehensive experimental evaluations.