#4. Responsiveness to Culture & Identity

Programs should provide young people with an opportunity to explore their identity within the context of their own culture as well as others.  They should create a safe and adaptive environment which recognizes that culture, family and personal history is core to a young person’s identity formation.  By doing this, programs deepen young people’s sense of self-esteem and increase their openness and understanding toward all people.

Research and Reports
Tools and Templates
  • University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development. “Culture and Diversity.” This online page contains blogs, recommended research articles, and pre-recorded presentations on the topics of citizenship and leadership in youth programs. It’s a great way to keep up with the latest practices and resources on being responsive to young people’s culture and identity in your youth program.
  • Metz, R., Goldsmith, J., & Abreton, A. J. A. (April, 2008). Putting it all together: Guiding principles for quality after-school programs serving preteens. p. 9-10. Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures. This report lays out guiding principles and effective practices for afterschool programs to achieve quality, with an emphasis on programs serving preteens. It uses research to explain why each guiding principal is essential for effective youth programs. Pages 9-10 of the report centers around Culture and Competence.
  • Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA). “Understanding and Engaging Survival Based Youth.” (Online YIPA training; must be a YIPA member). This online workshop is designed to provide adults with a foundational understanding of who survival oriented youth are, how we can provide them the structure and security they crave, and (in the process) form a relationship in which we can provide them with the help and support they deserve.
  • Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA). “LGBTQ Youth: What You Need To Know.” (Online YIPA training; must be a YIPA member). This training is intentionally designed to engage you and your peers in a frank discussion about how to engage LGBTQ youth. Here is your opportunity to ask what you’ve always wanted to ask and learn about this delicate, yet highly important issue facing many youth.