A Future for Creative Youth Development

Posted by Mr. Jeff M. Poulin, Sep 15, 2014

Jeff Poulin Jeff Poulin

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Arts Education Partnership’s annual National Forum. Aside from the connecting with arts education friends and learning tons (I mean tons!) in the sessions, I also had the opportunity to sit in on a session titled, “Fostering Student Success by Leveraging the Impact of Out of School Time, Creative Youth Development Programs.” What was great about the session was the interconnectivity of people, research and agenda from so many other national conversations which were initiated as a result of the policy and advocacy agenda produced after the first National Summit on Creative Youth Development in Boston.

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The History Behind Creative Youth Development: The Closest Thing to a Universal Language

Posted by Erik Holmgren, Sep 15, 2014

August 4, 2014 was the 180th Birthday of John Venn. If you’ve ever sat through a PowerPoint presentation, chances are you know John’s work. A Venn Diagram is a way of visually depicting the intersection of ideas, concepts or, in the case of Creative Youth Development, sectors of work.

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Arts + Youth Development = Influence

Posted by Denise Montgomery, Sep 15, 2014

Denise Montgomery Denise Montgomery

We know what quality creative youth development (CYD) programs look like through our own work, thanks to model programs, and through publications such as Engaging Adolescents, Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs From Urban Youth and Other Experts, and The Mosaic Model for Youth Development through the Arts. So let’s just implement the principles and increase the number of young people who are benefiting from such programs.

If only it were that simple.

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Getting Organized

Posted by Mr. Jonathan Herman, Sep 15, 2014

Jonathan_headshot Jonathan Herman

Young people have immense energy and a unique capacity to imagine, experiment, and take positive risks. But opportunities for them to develop their creativity and exercise these valuable qualities are in many cases limited.

Without opportunities to realize their own creative capacities, and thereby engage in the social and civic processes that directly affect their lives, young people are “at risk” of not realizing their own potential. And as a result our communities forgo the benefit of young people’s creativity, commitment, and leadership.

In an age of rapidly changing economic, social, technological, and environmental challenges (just to name a few), we need the talents of young people to help us innovate, renew, and build a brighter future.

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How to Create the Brave Bureaucrat

Posted by Ms. Margie Johnson Reese, Sep 16, 2014

Margie Johnson Reese Margie Johnson Reese


I am a registered card carrying bureaucrat.  I don’t do passion. The job isn’t what you’re excited about; it’s what you accomplish. My staff might disagree with this self-assessment especially after summer 2014. This past summer, in less time than any organization should be given; Big Thought implemented Dallas City of Learning, an expansion on a connected learning initiative first created in Chicago. To put it simply, the Cities of Learning initiative connects students to learning opportunities based on their burgeoning interests and the peer communities those interests created, with the goal of tying those creative experiences to academic outcomes. Student achievements are codified and recognized through digital badges that contain within their code the granular information about each accomplishment.

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Cross-Sector Conundrums, Convergences, and Commitments

Posted by Jon Hinojosa, Sep 16, 2014

Jon Hinojosa Jon Hinojosa

I am an Artist masquerading as an Arts Administrator - there I said it.  Actually, I am a proud artist working collectively with a committed team to change lives through creative youth development. Our program, SAY Sí, recently got some positive props for being an exemplary national arts-education model that should be replicated in Something to Say, a report by the Wallace Foundation of out-of-school arts programs for tweens and teens. (By the way, please don’t use the word “tweens” in front of young people.)

Part of the reason for our success and the attention is not just the arts part, we certainly do that well – I think it is because of our assessment process and track record of accomplishments. Our youth-focused multidisciplinary arts programs: visual arts, film, performance, and (soon) game design were created not because of our interest in jumping on a funding trend (more on funding below), they were created because our youth and community told us they were needed and missing from their lives, from their city, and from their schools.

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