Pathways to Reconnection

Youth growing up in high poverty or economically distressed communities are disconnecting at alarming rates from the education and labor market mainstream.  This disconnection has persisted for more than a decade in part because systems, policies, funding streams, and even advocacy related to adolescents and young adults are disconnected and wholly inadequate.  CLASP’s work in this area focuses on how federal policy can enhance youth serving systems and funding streams to create the comprehensive supports and delivery infrastructure needed to reconnect youth to positive pathways.

To learn more about the framing of the disconnected youth challenge, view Youth Employment: New Challenges in Knowledge-based Economies.                                     

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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