Cultivating True Leaders: A Social Justice Curriculum for Youth Development Programs

Kamaria C. Massey, Alexander E. Chan, Edwin Green, Jr., Maru Gonzalez


In recent years, there have been increasing calls to intentionally center diversity, equity, and inclusion within positive youth development programs. True Leaders: Culture, Power and Justice is a 4-H curriculum designed to engage young people in understanding and applying social justice concepts with the ultimate aim of nurturing their sense of self-efficacy as they work to find solutions to pressing social issues. The True Leaders curriculum is shaped by the Five Cs of positive youth development—confidence, competence, connection, caring, and character—and a social justice youth development framework. Each lesson is grounded in the critical experiential learning model, which seeks to move participants through a process of hands-on learning about social justice concepts, critical reflection, and, ultimately, collective action. The True Leaders curriculum is intended for use with middle and high school-aged youth.


positive youth development; social justice youth development; 4-H; critical consciousness

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