Latter-Day Saints, debutante balls, and the culture and language schools found among such ethnic communities as Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans. Research has only begun to explore the similarities, connections, and benefits of such community efforts to youth development.

SUMMARY

Program providers, program administrators, community leaders, and policy makers face a variety of choices in developing, implementing, supporting, and sustaining successful community programs for youth. The committee draws several conclusions from a review of illustrative community programs for youth and the ways in which these programs incorporate features of positive developmental settings into their design and implementation.

Community programs have the potential to provide opportunities for youth to acquire personal and social assets and experience features of positive developmental settings. Among other things, these programs can incorporate opportunities for physical, cognitive, and social/emotional development; opportunities that address underlying issues of ethnic identity and intergroup relationships; opportunities for community involvement and service; and opportunities to interact with caring adults and a diversity of peers.

There is great diversity in the design, approach, and focus of community programs for youth. Priorities vary among the diverse programs and therefore may emphasize different program features. Mentoring programs, for example, may focus on creating supportive relationships and developing a sense of belonging and inclusion. Programs that emphasize sports activities, for example, may place greater priority of developing team building and physical skill building. Priorities vary, and consequently program features vary.

No single program can necessarily serve all young people or incorporate all of the features of positive developmental settings. Diverse opportunities are more likely to support broad adolescent development and outcomes for a greater number of youth. As noted in Chapter 4, communities that are rich in opportunities reduce adolescent risk and increase positive development for a greater number of young people. This further supports the conclusion that communities need to offer multiple opportunities to experience positive developmental settings. Community-wide approaches to developing and implementing commu-



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement