Recent Webinars

"Talking to Kids: Preventive Benefits of Social Emotional Learning" Series

Talking to Kids about Stress Webinar: download here.

*We apologize for the technical issues that cut off the first few minutes of the webinar.*

In these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever to be able to effectively engage and support youth well-being and mental health. Each interactive webinar will explore best practices for introducing and discussing challenging social-emotional learning topics with children and youth. Webinar topics include talking to kids about stress, trauma, empathy, and positive self-talk. The first webinar will discuss stress management and emotional regulation as protective factors against many unhealthy behaviors.

Each webinar will address the common psychological theories and brain science behind the topic and interactive activities to help participants understand the concepts. Participants will also learn how to talk to children and youth about each topic in a developmentally appropriate manner. Participants will come away with activities to engage children and youth, a resource list, and an opportunity to engage the instructor with questions.

Netflix and the New Not Normal: Disruptive Innovation & The New Ways To Deliver Services To Our Field

Netflix and the New Not Normal Webinar: download here.

Youth Thrive is pleased to host this webinar led by the nationally renowned Eric Rowles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Leading To Change. As we continue to think about how best to engage and support our young people, particularly is in this new, “not” normal environment, this presentation will center on the concept of disruptive innovation, the difference between change and transformation, and the stages of radical transformation. We each have the potential to transform our work by veering from our traditional approaches and sparking an innovative change in how we operate. We’ll explore how “disruptive innovation” can be applied to our existing efforts, while still remaining true to the structure and integrity of our organizational missions. This promises to be a high-energy, thought, and action provoking presentation!

Strategies for Helping Youth Cope during Uncertain Times

Strategies for Helping Youth Cope during Uncertain Times Webinar: download here.

Being a teenager is difficult no matter what, and COVID-19 is making it even more difficult. Between school closures and canceled events, children and teens may feel upset about missing out on some of the biggest moments of their young lives — as well as everyday moments like talking with friends and participating in class. When our world changes quickly and suddenly because of things like COVID-19, it is common to experience changes in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Feelings of anxiety, fear, or worry are typical. It is imperative that we foster open communication to help them recognize, accept, and cope with the major shifts that have taken place and continue to take place in their lives.

Best Practices

The purpose of this Guide for Best Practices in Positive Youth Development is to assist traditional and non-traditional organizations and individuals who want to improve their programs, places, and policies related to youth development. This guide was developed from existing research-based quality standards.

Positive Youth Development (PYD) is a framework for how a community can support all youth so they can grow up fully prepared, fully engaged, and healthy and develop to their full potential.

Policies and Practices

  • All spaces provide physical and psychological safety for all the youth they serve.
  • All adults receive an orientation as well as ongoing training and support in working with youth using a PYD perspective.
  • PYD practices are written into policies and procedures.
  • All levels of youth-serving organizations (board, management, and direct care workers) understand and apply the purposeful nature of PYD and can articulate the philosophy and the integration of practices within programs.
  • Youth and adults are active and equal partners in any youth development initiative.
  • The focus of opportunities and supports is on PYD rather than the prevention of negative outcomes.
  • Youth-serving organizations’ missions include language around youth development.
  • Evidence of PYD practices occurs at all levels of programs, places, and policies.
  • Measurable objectives are included in employee evaluations to assess their understanding and implementation of PYD practices, if applicable.
High Expectations

  • There are clear expectations for quality youth/adult interactions within opportunities and supports.
  • Opportunities and supports promote positive experiences, values, and norms for youth.
Skill Building

  • Opportunities and supports are focused on plans that promote action, responsibility, and accountability from youth.
  • Skill-building activities should begin from a perspective of youth strengths, interests, and preferences.

  • Opportunities and supports encourage and teach youth to embrace and contribute to their community and likewise serve as an advocate for the community to engage and support all youth.
  • Opportunities and supports provide meaningful recognition of youths’ achievements.
  • Youth develop the 5 Cs (competence, connection, character, confidence, and caring/compassion) through programs and community efforts.
  • Opportunities and supports work with youth on personal development goals outside of referred concerns, if applicable.
  • Opportunities and supports help youth achieve their fullest potential by providing access to tools that break down barriers to opportunities.
  • Opportunities and supports empower youth to assume leadership roles, providing youth with opportunities to consider themselves as resources.
  • Youth have the opportunity for skill building and intentional learning experiences through program activities and community involvement.
Routine and Structure

  • Adults serve as positive role models to youth through consistent support, empowerment, expectations, and constructive uses of time.
  • Opportunities and supports for youth are developmentally appropriate.
  • Opportunities and supports expose youth to protective factors, which are factors that buffer youth from involvement in risky behaviors and mediate the impact of risk factors.
  • All programs and places have a clear daily structure.
  • All programs and places have an appropriate adult/youth ratio.
  • Adults clearly communicate expectations.

  • Youth satisfaction surveys are provided to all youth in a program or place, AND the suggestions are implemented.
  • Meaningful youth/adult partnerships are visible throughout programs, places, and policies.
  • Youth and adults are mutually equipped to have healthy and positive relationships.
  • Youth have opportunities for long-term organizational involvement with adults, even after referred concerns have been achieved.
Strategic Support and Collaboration

  • Individuals and organizations work together to promote youth development through collaboration, linking resources, sharing expertise, and connecting people.
  • Individuals and organizations work together to encourage engagement and support of youth.

Click to download a PDF of the Best Practice Guide


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Academy for Educational Development Center for Youth Development and Policy Research (1996). Advancing Youth Development: A Curriculum for Training Youth Workers [Electronic Version]. Washington, DC: Author. View PDF

Dotterweich, J. (n.d.). Act for Youth Upstate Center of Excellence Positive Youth Development Resource Manual [Electronic Version]. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Family Life Development Center. View PDF

Pittman, K., Irby, M., Tolman, J., Yohalem, N., & Ferber, T. (2003). Preventing Problems, Promoting Development, Encouraging Engagement: Competing Priorities or Inseparable Goals? [Electronic Version]. Based upon Pittman, K. & Irby, M. (1996). Preventing Problems or Promoting Development? Washington, DC: The Forum for Youth Investment, Impact Strategies, Inc. Visit Website

US DHHS Family and Youth Services Bureau National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth (2007). Putting Positive Youth Development into Practice [Electronic Version]. View PDF

Academy for Educational Development Center for Youth Development and Policy Research (n.d.) What is Youth Development?


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