Our Definition of “Youth Development”

Ed LOBOS Youth LAPD 1-15

Youth Development
A field of community building work that promotes that all children and youth ages 0-24:
1. Are precious;
2. Have an unlimited ability to grow, to contribute, to heal and to repair harm;
3. Must be seen by their strengths and resilience rather than their perceived deficits;
4. Must be protected from harsh discipline, extreme sentencing, adult laws/courts/systems and institutions;
5. Have the right to citizenship and protection from discrimination, detention and deportation based on where they were born;
6. Have a right to critique and shape the world around them, including the right to speak out and organize in their schools and communities; to participate actively in the development of policies and laws that govern their schools and communities; and to dismantle harmful policies and institutions; and
7. Have a right to a comprehensive set of opportunities and resources, skills workshops and enrichment activities that ensure they develop excellence in:
A. Identity/culture (in order to build knowledge and pride of self and appreciation of others including race, ethnic, gender, spirituality, physical abilities, language, historical contributions and values);
B. Leadership, civic engagement and community action (advocacy, organizing, electoral work) that enables youth to challenge injustice and increase protections and options for all people;
C. Literacy, math, computer literacy and preparation for higher education;
D. Job readiness, work experience, vocational certification and apprenticeship, and career planning;
E. Transformative justice including conflict avoidance, problem solving and violence prevention and intervention;
F. Health and mental health including nutrition, harm reduction, drug and alcohol prevention/intervention and reproductive health;
G. Arts and expression (creative writing, music, drama, visual arts, media arts); and
H. Recreation, physical fitness and athletics.


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