Youth Today: Fully Prepared Doesn’t Require Being Problem-Free, Just Problem-Resilient

“Problem-free isn’t fully prepared” is the slogan I am most known for.  It’s even quoted in the National Research Council’s 2002 research study, Community Programs to Promote Youth Development. This report, affectionately dubbed “The Blue Book” by youth workers, affirmed the value of asset-based positive youth development approaches as complements to (and perhaps even substitutes for) […]

Youth Today: Handle with Care

I continue to be impressed with the simplicity and power of Handle with Care, a partnership between law enforcement, schools and mental health providers that was created to ensure that children exposed to trauma in their home, school or community get quick support.   The program allows first responders to send “handle with care” notes to […]

Youth Today: Caught and Taught

Out-of-school Time Programs Add Social and Emotional Instruction The facts in Brian Rinker’s recent Youth Today story Pandemic pushes afterschool programs to add social-emotional learning rang true. Out-of-school time program staff are seeing an uptick in behavioral challenges that require staff to have more specific tools, practices and referral options. He writes: “Over the past decade, schools […]

Youth Today Column: The Student Success + Youth Success = Field Success

I’m encouraged by recent signs that the Biden administration understands the importance of community-based organizations to the allied youth fields.  Take the National Partnership for Student Success launched earlier this month to help place an additional 250,000 Americans into schools and communities with the goal of countering the effects of the pandemic on students’ academic […]

Youth Today Column: Adolescents are a force for good

Shahrukh Khalibeak, 17, is a force for good.    He and his family arrived in the U.S. in August 2021 after the Taliban seized complete control of Afghanistan. As the oldest of six children, he is not only making the transition to a different school environment, but also working part time, learning to drive, and being […]

Youth Today Column: Recentering Youth Work in the Wake of Compelling Evidence 

I’ve been struck once again this month, while reading Youth Today, by how the stories and commentaries demonstrated the complexity of what it takes to meet youth and families where they are – struggling to succeed in spite of homelessness, facing the realities of institutional biases that are condoned in staff, speaking out against youth violence, or receiving a […]

YT Multi faces

Youth Today Column: Policies that Erase Black, Brown or LGBTQ Youth are a Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on teens, accelerating the declines in youth mental health that were evident before the pandemic. New CDC survey results from the Division of Adolescent and School Health document the growing mental health threats to teens. In 2021, 44% of high school students reported persistent sadness or hopelessness, compared to just under 37% in 2019. […]

Students in Classroom with Many Absent

Youth Today Column: What it takes to get and keep youth in school

A story about Black elementary school children jailed for non-existent crimes caught my attention in October 2021 when it was first picked up from ProPublica and featured in Youth Today. I checked then to see if publications more traditionally followed by those in the k-12 education space covered the story. They hadn’t.  Read the full column on Youth […]