Diversity and Inclusion in Youth Development: What We Can Learn from Marginalized Young People


  • Stephen T. Russell University of Arizona
  • Kali Van Campen University of Arizona




As we commemorate 100 years of youth development programs whose origins are traced to organizations founded in the United States, we consider key insights as well as strategies relevant for diversity and inclusion. Many of the large, mainstream youth development organizations and programs that were founded over a century ago now primarily serve youth in the “mainstream”: youth from the middle classes, traditional families, and dominant cultural groups. A growing body of scholarship considers the positive development of youth who are marginalized due to their social class, ability, sexuality, citizenship status, race, ethnicity, or culture. We draw insights from studies of youth and families who are immigrants, or who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT). These findings provide a vantage point for considering ways that contemporary youth development organizations might stretch the margins, or adapt their practices, in order to reach and include all youth.






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