Exploring the 4-H Thriving Model: A Commentary Through an Equity Lens


  • Nia Imani Fields University of Maryland Extension 4-H Youth Development




positive youth development, diversity, equity


Many youth-serving organizations across the nation have made commitments to enhance their ability to better engage diverse communities with equity and inclusion at the fore. For many youth programs, there is a need to better align youth, adult leaders, and curriculum with the diverse needs and social conditions of the country. In their article, Professors Arnold and Gagnon describe the most recent iteration of a theory of change for 4-H, a national youth-serving organization that offers a variety of PYD programs. 4‑H recognizes the critical need to reach the most marginalized communities, yet the opportunity gap that exists in its programming cannot be fully addressed if an equity lens is not applied to the systematic analysis and delivery of programs. In this commentary, I critique the 4-H Thriving Model through an equity lens and, in doing so, explain the key terms and theories necessary for stakeholders to understand in order to promote equity in the youth sector.


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