Community Counts: How Youth Organizations Matter for Youth Development

by Milbrey McLaughlin

Mar 29, 2000
Our research reports numerous accomplishments and successes of active young people engaged in community organizations. Of greatest importance for society is the compelling evidence from the experiences of these youth that community-based organizations (CBOs) can play a critical role in meeting the needs of today's young people. They can fill the gap left by families and schools that are stretched to capacity to provide supports to young people. One of the most appealing aspects of these CBOs is that they give young people the opportunity to engage in positive activities, to develop close and caring relationships, and to find value in themselves -- even in the face of personal disruption, poor schools, and neighborhoods generally devoid of supports. The impressive accomplishments of these young people from diverse communities around the country warrant community action. Community-based organizations offer a means for reaching youth and they can have a significant impact on the skills, attitudes, and experiences youth need to take their places as confident, contributing adults.
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