Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shared Principles of Positive Youth Development in Nashville

Did you know that Nashville has a list of 5 principles to guide our work with young people?

These are factors that professional youth workers from 30+ community agencies developed together last spring. We hope youth workers, educators, mentors, parents, extended families and other caring adults will take time to digest these 5 principles and see how they might impact the way we nurture youth in our city. We believe that engaging youth in these ways will help young people to navigate adolescence and grow into adulthood in successful and thriving fashion. Be watching for more information soon!

1) Promote a Sense of Physical, Social and Emotional Safety. Youth must feel as though the adults in this setting will protect them from any harm. They also must feel they are valued and accepted by the group.

2) Encourage Relationship Building. Young people need many supportive long-term relationships to help them navigate their adolescence. They need guidance from caring adults as well as emotional and practical support from their peers.

3) Foster Meaningful Youth Participation. Youth must have an active role, voice and choice in shaping their experiences. They must have the opportunity to practice and develop leadership skills, and they must know their contributions are valuable.

4) Provide Opportunities for Building Purpose. Young people need to live purposefully and contribute in meaningful ways. Creating opportunities for youth to become involved in the community and for community members to interact with youth is a powerful way to foster a sense of purpose and develop positive values.

5) Engage Youth in Learning Experiences that Build Valuable Life Skills. Young people need opportunities for experiential learning that will help them build skills needed to succeed in every area of life.

(developed by representatives of 30 community-based providers and 8 Metro agencies; adopted 4/30/09)