Mentoring creates caring, empathetic, consistent, and long-lasting relationships, often with some combination of role modeling, teaching, and advising that benefits both the youth and mentor by helping youth to succeed in life and meet their goals.
Civic engagement includes both paid and unpaid forms of political activism, environmentalism, volunteering, and community and national service. Civic engagement and volunteering can be beneficial for both youth and communities.
Positive youth development is an intentional, strength-based, pro-social approach that engages youth within communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in productive and constructive manner that promotes positive outcomes.
Service-learning is a strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and self-reflection to support academic learning, teach civic responsibility, developing 21st century skills, increasing global awareness, and strengthen communities.
Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.
Research links early leadership with increased self-efficacy and suggests that leadership can help youth to develop decision making and interpersonal skills that support successes in the workforce and adulthood. In addition, young leaders tend to be more involved in their communities, and have lower dropout rates than their peers. Youth leaders also show considerable benefits for their communities, providing valuable insight into the needs and interests of young people
Civic engagement has the potential to empower young adults, increase their self-determination, and give them the skills and self-confidence they need to enter the workforce. Read about one youth’s experience in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).
"When I look back at my past experiences, it amazes me what a youth from South Central [LA] was able to accomplish. I enjoy giving other youth the same feeling."
"I was inspired to create MY LIFE...because there was really a lack of places that youth could share their voice, and make a positive difference in their lives and in the community."
"Being part of this youth board turned my anger for the foster care system into passion. I had a story but my peers did, too. It became less about me and more about a group of youth who many people forget about."
“A lot of people might think that you may not have good ideas because you're a teenager, but working hard makes a big difference as it shows [others] you have a voice and you are capable…”
Map My Community is a tool designed specifically to assist you in locating resources in your community to help you build and strengthen your youth program. Get ideas for new partnerships, identify gaps in your community, and learn about resources to avoid duplication of effort.
FindYouthInfo.gov is the U.S. government Web site that helps you create, maintain, and strengthen effective youth programs. Included are youth facts, funding information, and tools to help you assess community assets, generate maps of local and federal resources, search for evidence-based youth programs, and keep up-to-date on the latest, youth-related news.