Model Youth Programs: A Key Strategy for Developing Community-University Partnerships Using a Community Youth Development Approach

Yolanda Anyon, María A. Fernández

Abstract


Universities across the nation face the charge of enhancing their intellectual capital as a learning institution while also contributing to the greater social good. While there is great potential for university-community partnerships to generate lessons for youth workers and policy makers, create powerful new knowledge for the academic field, and provide transformative experiences for community members, partnerships often fail to produce such meaningful results. In the San Francisco Bay Area, community residents who have been involved in such unsuccessful initiatives frequently perceived that university partners spent insufficient time learning about the community context, prioritized research objectives over community needs and did not make long-term commitments. Despite these challenges, community-university partnerships can be useful strategies for advancing the field of youth development by strengthening research and practice in local contexts. This paper presents how the design and implementation of model youth programs served as an effective strategy in developing a partnership between a university-based center and two local communities over a 5-year period. It also describes essential lessons that other communities, research institutions or universities may use to launch, implement, expand and sustain their own successful partnerships to build local capacity to implement youth development practices, promote positive outcomes for young people, and generate knowledge about the impact of youth development approaches.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2008.323

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