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Community Programs to Promote Youth Development
Social and communication skill training programs that:
Help them learn to resist negative peer pressures and to communicate better with their parents about such issues as sexuality, negative peer pressures, and the health risks of drug and alcohol use.
Career planning activities that:
Expose young adolescents to a wide range of possible careers, help them to develop high expectations for themselves about their future, and provide them with the information needed to begin to make appropriate educational choices that will help them achieve their future aspirations.
Respect young adolescents’ growing maturity by providing opportunities for meaningful inputs into program development and governance.
Evidence reviewed later in this report suggests that, as youth get older, the family conflicts common to the early adolescent years decrease, susceptibility to peer influence decreases, and both personal and social identity concerns increase, particularly those related to occupational, sexual, and ethnic identities. In addition, the biological systems stabilize, cognitive skills increase, and expertise in a variety of areas grows. Programs for older youth need to change in ways that reflect their growing maturity and expertise, the new courses they are taking in high school, their increasing cognitive capacities, their increased concerns about identity issues, and their movement toward the transition into adulthood. Again, developmental theory and empirical evidence suggest the following kinds of programs for older youth:
Educational programs that:
Provide tutoring for college preparatory courses;
Teach about multiple cultures; and
Help youth learn skills needed to navigate across multiple cultural settings.
Play an increasing role as mentors of younger adolescents and to be leaders in an organization.