Integration of positive youth development in community-based youth development organizations
Miranda, Celina E.
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Despite the growing number of organizations that classify themselves as youth development organizations in the country, we know very little about them, particularly as hosts of positive youth development (PYD) programming (Roholt, Baizerman, Rana & Korum, 2013). Absent from the literature is an understanding of how youth development organizations are responding to environmental shifts that have occurred over the past 20 years as the PYD movement has gained ground and legitimacy. Out of this movement has emerged an asset-based framework for working with young people. This framework is starkly different from the traditional view of youth, which historically has treated this age group as deficient and as passive recipients of services. PYD, on the other hand, sees youth as active contributors to society. PYD’s focus is on helping youth gain the skills and competencies necessary to transition successfully into adulthood. This study explored how PYD is influencing the work of community based youth development organizations. In addition, this study looked at how institutional pressures are influencing the way organizations are responding to PYD. The following research questions grounded the study: 1) How is PYD influencing community-based youth development organizations? 2) Are community-based youth development organizations responding similarly to the PYD logic? 3) How are isomorphic pressures influencing the adoption of PYD in community-based youth development organizations? 4) What is the relationship between the isomorphic pressures organizations face and the degree to which PYD strategies are implemented in daily practice? This study used a qualitative multiple case study method to examine three community-based youth organizations in a northeastern city of the United States. This study yielded three main findings: 1) PYD is influencing the work of community-based youth organizations; 2) implementation of PYD varies across organizations; and 3) institutional pressures explain some, but not entirely how PYD is being adopted in community-based youth development organizations. The findings from this study provide important insights on how PYD is influencing community-based organizations by describing how organizations are translating PYD into practice and how this relates to institutional pressures faced by these organizations.
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