Youth development is best promoted through activities and experiences that help youth develop competencies in social, ethical, emotional, physical, and cognitive domains (Eccles & Gootman, 2002; Roth & Brooks-Gunn, 2003). The Konopka Institute (2000) identified components of effective youth development programs, including: decision-making; interaction with peers; acquiring a sense of belonging; experimenting with their own identity, with relationships to others, and with ideas; and participating in the creative arts, physical activity, and health education. The American Youth Policy Forum conducted a national review of 50 evaluations of youth interventions and identified nine basic principles of effective youth programming and practice, including: (a) high quality implementation; (b) high standards and expectations for participating youth; (c) participation of caring, knowledgeable adults; (d) parental involvement; (e) taking a holistic approach; (f) viewing youth as valuable resources and contributors to their communities; (g) high community involvement; (h) long term services, support, and follow-up; and (i) including work-based and vocational curricula as key components of programming (James,1999). The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (1997) included: (a) providing accurate information about human sexuality; (b) providing an opportunity for young people to question, explore, and assess their sexual attitudes; (c) helping young people develop interpersonal skills, including communication, decision-making, assertiveness, and peer refusal skills; and (d) helping young people exercise responsibility regarding sexual relationships.
Studiesgiving frequencies of various childhood sexual behaviors are highlyvariablesince behavior varies among groups and individuals due to differencesin culture, moral beliefs, values, development, and strength of sexualfeelings.
Native Arts and Cultures Foundation
Successful youth development programs must be able to adapt to the social, cultural, and ethnic diversity of the young people that they serve and the communities in which they operate (Eccles & Gootman, 2002; Roth & Brooks-Gunn, 2003). Programs that promote understanding and tolerance in their participants have been shown to promote the development of positive social behaviors, attitudes, and skills (Edelman et al., 2004; Ferber, Pittman & Marshall, 2002).
Culture influences young people's self-esteem: …
. . . [E]vangelizing means bringing the Good News ofJesus into every human situation and seeking to convert individuals andsociety by the divine power of the Gospel itself. Its essence is theproclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ and the response of a personin faith, both being the work of the Spirit of God (Go and Make Disciples, p. 2).The ministry of evangelization shares the good news of the reign of Godand invites young people to hear about the Word Made Flesh. Drawing fromJesus' example, evangelization involves the community's pronouncementand living witness that the reign of God has become realized in andthrough Jesus. The starting point for the ministry of evangelization "isour recognition of the presence of God already in young people, theirexperiences, their families, and their culture. . . . Through theIncarnation of God in Jesus, Christians are convinced that God ispresent within and through all of creation, and, in a special way,within humanity. Evangelization, therefore, enables young people touncover and name the experience of a God already active and present intheir lives. This provides an openness to the gift of the Good News ofJesus Christ" (Challenge of Catholic Youth Evangelization 7-8).
Involving Refugee Parents in their Children's Education
Well-designed and well-run youth development programs promote youth leadership by involving youth in needs assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation. A growing number of organizations include youth on their boards of directors. Effective programs engage all participating youth in constructive action through activities such as service learning, arts, and athletics; and emphasize common values such as friendship, citizenship, and learning.