Putting Youth at the Center of Community Building: New Directions for Youth Development

Putting Youth at the Center of Community Building: New Directions for Youth Development

by Joel Nitzberg (Editor)

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Overview

Putting Youth at the Center of Community Building: New Directions for Youth Development by Joel Nitzberg

This issue offers an explanation of community building priniciplesand how they can be applied working with youth. The authors provideexamples of how community building can be connected to youthdevelopment and how youth can be change agents. The communitybuilding field emphasizes the importance of networking and buildingrelations, enabling all members of a community to be change agents.Self-determination and change are not new to youth workers. What isnew is expanding the work to enable youth to apply these skills tothe greater community.

This is the 106th volume of the Jossey-Bass quarterly reportseries New Directions for Youth Development.

Clickhere to view the entire catalog of New Directions for YouthDevelopment titles.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780787981570
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 07/08/2005
Series: J-B MHS Single Issue Mental Health Services Series , #80
Pages: 112
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.24(d)

About the Author

Joel Nitzberg is a senior faculty member and director of the Division of Lieflong Learning of Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA.

Read an Excerpt

Putting Youth at the Center of Community Building


By Joel Nitzberg

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7879-8157-5


Chapter One

Editor's Notes

All of us who care about promoting the well-being of our young people have something to contribute. We strive to create a community-wide response that keeps the hope of young people alive, while offering them a range of ways to grow and learn about life. This effort needs to be flexible enough to make use of a wide range of resources while being organized enough to keep them all connected and working together. Adina Davidson, The Family Center, Somerville, Massachusetts

THIS ISSUE IS devoted to the connections of youth development and community building. Although there may be much familiarity in the field of youth development as to the principles and practices of working with youth, community building as a field is perhaps not as well known. People are familiar with community organizing, which offers tools and strategies to organize people to create change. This is only one strategy in the tool box of community building. It is also one that may not have lasting effect or offer a systemic solution for transforming communities. Community organizers can often leave out youth, not recognizing this age group as having clout or the ability to understand the dynamics of power, and therefore not enabling them to participate as full players in the drama of community strengthening. Tapping into and creating social capacity across all issues andcollective activities is the essence of community building. It offers a wider perspective, recognizing that relationships and networking, and connecting the many issues and people, are the key elements to opening the doors for change.

Ultimately the many stakeholders must be part of the change process and learn to work constructively with one another, and the many issues that people and communities are struggling with must be linked. Joining people, resources, energy, and talents across a spectrum of groups, organizations, and issues will provide the fertile ground from which the community can respond to the needs of youth. If we recognize that the needs of youth are related to those of the wider community and if we respond accordingly, then we are understanding community building.

The vision includes the creation of a sustained citywide mobilization to bring people and groups together as allied supporters of youth. The mission is to address and connect distinct needs and to ensure that the people involved are:

Linked by core beliefs about what is needed

Guided by a shared sense of accountability

Willing to share their talents and resources

Accepting of youth sharing in the dynamics of power and decision making

Receiving the supports that they need in order to be effective

Driven by a common desire to ensure that all young people and their families have the supports, opportunities, and services needed to prosper and contribute where they live, learn, work, and play

This volume first outlines a framework, reflects about the past ten years, and introduces an innovative, educational perspective. The issue then moves to case examples of community programs with a clinical, educational, youth empowerment, and artistic foci. The final chapter is provided by youth.

Taken together this work shows that it is critical that we create strategic alliances among the full range of organizations, groups, and individuals that invest in youth and their families. It is also essential to forge strong connections with those who are invested in the success of communities. Joel Nitzberg Editor

JOEL NITZBERG is a senior faculty member and director of the Division of Lifelong Learning of Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA.

(Continues...)



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Table of Contents

Editor’s Notes (Joel Nitzberg).

Executive Summary.

1. The meshing of youth development and community building(Joel Nitzberg)
Youth development is an approach to help young people move towardmaturity through sustained relationships and meaningful andempowering experiences. Community building offers a comprehensiveapproach to strengthening communities. Meshing these approachescreates powerful experiences that change both youth and thecommunities they live in.

2. Comprehensive community building initiatives—ten yearslater: What we have learned about the principles guiding the work(Anne C. Kubisch)
For over twenty years, people across the country have engaged incomprehensive initiatives to strengthen their communities. Thelessons learned have focused on changes that extend beyondindividuals and what occurs at the community level.

3. Using the coproduction principle: No more throwaway kids(Edgar S. Cahn, Christine Gray)
Coproduction provides an approach to youth development that says:enable youth to use the skills they have to help others; honor thatcontribution with rewards; and use the process of helping others asan opportunity for youth to gain social and communications skills,self-knowledge, selfrespect, problem-solving competence, angermanagement, and conflict resolution abilities.

4. Youth using research: Learning through social practice,community building, and social change (Alexander Lynn)
Students, teachers, and staff are learning how to develop aneducational philosophy and practice that is predicated on servingthe community.

5. “I love ballet”: Arts incentives for adolescenthealth and community development (Lisa S. Fliegel)
Art therapy can be a community-linked treatment, integrating theknowledge of diagnostic categories and symptomotology with atherapeutic response grounded in theories of adolescent mentalhealth treatment.

6. Teen Empowerment: Youth, police, and neighbors in partnership(Mary Fusoni)
The Center for Teen Empowerment inspires young people, and theadults who come in contact with them, to think deeply about themost difficult social problems in their schools andcommunities.

7. Hand-drumming to build community: The story of the WhittierDrum Project (Nathan Neil Stone)
Drumming can be used in a tangible way to focus on buildingcommunity. The power of drumming includes enabling youth to expresstheir individual voices while blending with a group.

8. Somerville Youth Council (Remi Manoela Owadokun, PearlieAvilés)
The Somerville Youth Council was developed by youth over afour-month period to create opportunities for youth in thisMassachusetts city to identify the needs of their peers andformulate strategies to address these needs.

Index.

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