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Positive Youth Development

Updated: Jun 23, 2019

Positive Youth Development (PYD) is a concept that combines developmental science and prevention science. The basis of PYD is that we approach and consider all youth to be able and eager to explore and contribute to the world (Damon, 2004). When we consider how to best serve our youth and take a PYD approach, we focus on engaging youth in growth-promoting activities instead of treating maladaptive tendencies (Eichas et al., 2015). The idea here is that instead of waiting until we see the symptoms of suffering and struggle we work early on in the developmental process and across the lifespan to provide the tools for self-exploration and resilience.


Positive Youth Development has been developed within the framework of relational development systems theory (Lerner, 2005). The necessity of using this framework derives from the fact that youth determine their worth from their relationships. The relationships that the youth participate in directly affect well-being, autonomy, efficacy, and esteem. Lastly, PYD understands that developmental change is systemic and successive (Lerner, 2002). This means that developmental change does not happen in one place and at one time!

We have to address the development of the youth in all places they exist and along their developmental trajectory. This concept calls for collaboration across sectors to ensure that the youth are receiving the same message: you are awesome, you can do anything, you are supported, you are allowed to fail, you can get back up, we have you. We, at Transform-Ed, truly take this approach by focusing on structure and systems by addressing the broken nature and conditions that reinforce a negative view of self and re-define them with practices that all the youth can use to transform. Our hope is that no matter what are personal views, fears, and struggles may be, we, as the current leadership and mentors for these youth, are able to come alongside each other and build a world where youth can find who they are and rise up to the greatest version of themselves.


Are there ways that you believe you support the positive development of youth? What would you like to see happen to allow PYD to be the underlying framework for our approach to youth? What message do you want our youth to receive?

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