Building the Capacity of Communities

It takes a collective community response to ensure disconnected and disadvantaged youth have access to the labor market and opportunity for positive life outcomes. Through research and outreach, we identify effective cross-system community responses. And we provide opportunities for communities to learn from each other through Communities Collaborating to Reconnect Youth (CCRY) Network,  a peer-to-peer network of workforce and youth development professionals in 15 communities across the country.

Understanding and Addressing Youth Distress

To promote greater understanding of the scope of the disconnected youth issue in high poverty, urban areas, we analyze data on indicators related to education, crime and victimization, employment, and family stability. We also highlight community examples of effective approaches to address youth distress.  Read more

Apr 8, 2015  |  PERMALINK »

Celebrating Native American Youth: Leadership and Resiliency

By Andrew Mulinge

Recently, the Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth held its fourth annual Champions for Change celebration. The event recognized the extraordinary work of resilient young men and women in Native American, Alaskan native, and Native Hawaiian communities across the country.

The young leaders’ inspiring work is a constructive response to the hardships and tragedies they have experienced. They discussed channeling their challenges and pain into innovative programs that address suicide, sexual abuse, cultural preservation, and mentorship for their peers. These programs are critically important; too often, communities perpetuate trauma instead of supporting those who experience it.

Chronic trauma and adversity are key public health issues with major implications for the wellbeing of youth—especially those in American Indian and Alaskan Native communities. Barriers to positive youth development  include violence, abuse, and neglect, as well as chronic stressors like unemployment, racism, lack of adequate health care, and social isolation. Chronic trauma and adversity in childhood can interrupt normal brain development; this has long-term consequences for learning, behavior, and physical and mental health.

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