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Showing posts from December, 2023

Inspiration from a pioneer of youth development

By Karen Beranek "Fully prepared does not mean problem-free - just resilient." Karen Pittman, youth development researcher While researching for my thesis two decades ago, I found myself drawn to the work of Karen Pittman . Her education as a sociologist and lived experiences, combined with her leadership and ability positioned her to create movement in the world of positive youth development. She co-founded the Forum for Youth Investment and KP Catalysts . She coined the phrase "Problem-free is not fully prepared" as she describes how we work with youth.  This fall, I had the privilege of listening to her speak in person! She expanded on the research and the history of positive youth development that she has advanced in her 30+ year career. It was more than a little humbling to pause and contemplate the evolution of youth development. Karen was able to walk us through the journey of youth work. As youth development professionals, we now recognize that youth being

Who's at the table: Diversifying boards and committees

By Jeremy Freeman Bringing diversity, whether it be ethnic, age, gender or socio-economic status, into your committees and executive boards can strengthen your approach in addressing community needs. As evidenced in this summary by the National Council of Nonprofits , board diversity is critically important to its effectiveness. Some of the benefits diversity brings include better decision making, better connections and networks, and better insight and discernment into the lived experiences of individual members within the community. If we want to represent and govern our organizations on behalf of the community, ensuring the lived experiences of young people are taken into account when decisions are made, working to diversify our governing bodies so they represent the community is a good first step.  Yet if we look practically at the makeup of our volunteer networks, particularly boards and committees within youth development programs, what do we see? Many of the seats in executive bo

Disability etiquette basics

By Darcy Cole Here in Minnesota, almost 17% of public school students receive special education services. This means that all youth development professionals will engage with youth with disabilities. For those new to disability work, this can provide some uncomfortableness that naturally comes with new experiences. It can be easy to make mistakes or not know exactly how to interact with someone who has a disability because we may feel that we need to interact with them differently than we would with others. Understanding disability etiquette can help everyone avoid some common mistakes and feel more comfortable. Basic disability etiquette involves treating people with disabilities with respect and making them feel valued. Some basic disability etiquette tips include: Speak directly to the person rather than their companion, aide, caregiver or interpreter. Avoid talking about a person as if they weren’t there when they are present.   Presume competence by asking before you help. Don’t