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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition: Creating opportunities for youth with disabilities to achieve successful futures.

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Youth Development & Leadership

Related Research


After-School Programs Boost In-School Achievement (March 2011)

“The Impact of Youth Development Programs on Student Academic Achievement,” a report on evaluation research and success stories, has been published by the National Collaboration for Youth and is available online from SparkAction. Participation in Boys and Girls Clubs and other after-school programs is not just socially beneficial, but is an under-leveraged academic resource, found to improve in-school performance for their members. Available in pdf (359 KB, 8 pp).


Kegler, M. C., & Wyatt, V. H. (2003). A multiple case study of neighborhood partnerships for positive youth development. American Journal of Health Behavior, 27(2), 156–169.

Case studies of five community partnerships highlight the effects of a youth development approach. The authors identify factors associated with successful prevention of teen pregnancy when using a positive youth development approach.

Larson, R. & Angus, R. (2011). Pursuing paradox: The role of adults in creating empowering settings for youth. Prepared for M. Aber, K. Maton, & E. Seidman (Eds.). Empowerment settings and voices for social change (pp. 65-93). New York: Oxford.

Advisors of youth programs navigate the paradox of trying to provide direction while allowing youth to make decisions and learn from their actions. This article examines what differentiates advisors who are effective in facilitating youth’s development of empowerment skills (specifically strategic thinking). We found these advisors exercised an art of “leading from behind” in which they provided judicious support--when and if needed--in ways that maintained youth’s experience of agency and facilitated their cycles of learning.


Youth Development-Youth Leadership Research Base

Effective workforce development programs have youth development and leadership components at their core. Research shows that youth who participate in youth development and leadership experiences are more likely to do well in school, participate in their community and positively transition through adolescence to adulthood. Involvement in youth development and leadership activities is especially valuable for youth with disabilities who may need accommodations and additional support to allow them to participate successfully.

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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
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University of Minnesota
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This page was last updated on November 29, 2017.