Forum Flash: May 19, 2011

Forum Flash: Improving Youth Services, Zero Tolerance, Youth Voice in the White House

The Forum for Youth Investment Forum Flash

Forum Flash is part of the Forum for Youth Investment's e-newsletter series. Forum Flash informs you about what's going on at the Forum for Youth Investment, and about resources, opportunities, careers and recent events.

New Case Study Shows How to Improve Systems and Settings 

How can a community change the quality, coordination and reach of its services, supports and engagement opportunities for children and youth? The Forum's latest Ready by 21® case study shows how leaders in Petaluma, Calif., did just that, working with the Forum to use the Ready by 21 approach to build a communitywide coalition and develop new strategies that had impact.


Read the Petaluma case study.

Read more case studies. 


The Harm of Zero Tolerance Gone Wild

If schools in your community practice zero tolerance policies, you might want to see why a youth suicide compelled the Forum's Karen Pittman and Patrick Boyle to blog about the potential harm of such policies. Their message: Forcing a kid to leave a school means a lot more than changing the location of the math class. Our schools are communities and should act like it, rather than just jettisoning undesirables.

You can now follow Karen Pittman on Twitter: 

Youth Voice in the White House: You Make the Call

Those who think young people should have a greater voice in the development of federal youth policies have a chance to shape how that would happen: The Forum and its fellow advocates are gaining momentum in their call for the creation of a National Youth Council to work with federal policymakers. The council would be composed of young people who are charged with conducting outreach to their peers and building productive working relationships with senior policymakers in Washington.


With that idea moving forward, it's time to get specific: How do you think the council should be set up?

Communities Start Their Ready by 21 Challenges

The Forum continues to help more communities implement Ready by 21 tools. Last month, four new communities kicked off the Ready by 21, Credentialed by 26 Challenge - a six-month technical assistance project aimed at improving youth transitions to adulthood. Education, business and nonprofit leaders from the communities - Broward County, Fla., Montgomery County, Md., and Sonoma and Eldorado Counties in Calif. - gathered for two days with Forum staff to look at local data, talk with students about barriers to success and forge new partnerships aimed at improving postsecondary completion rates.


The Challenge will help collaborations in these communities improve supports for transitioning young adults, with a special focus on postsecondary success. Each community receives training, coaching, tools, facilitation support and networking opportunities, along with a $5,000 grant to engage key stakeholders in dialogue about barriers to student success and to conduct an inventory of the supports, services and opportunities available to support postsecondary completion.

Read more about the Ready by 21, Credentialed by 26 Challenge. 

What is Positive Youth Development and How Does it Help?  

Those who promote and carry out positive youth development are sometimes asked to explain what it is. Forum CEO Karen Pittman took on that task in a speech in Miami this month at the bi-annual Leadership Institute for Reclaiming Futures, a national initiative that helps young people who are in trouble with drugs, alcohol, and crime.


Pittman pulled from her decades of experience in the youth field to explain what positive youth development is, what it means and how it can help communities make better decisions about their young people, including those in the juvenile justice system.  Her one-hour talk was broadcast live; you can watch it here

Obama and Youth: The Door is Opening  

Since the last presidential election, Millennials have had high hopes for access to the Obama White House. Some have expressed disappointment - but Forum Vice President Thaddeus Ferber is not among them. "This White House has done more to provide direct access for young people than either the Clinton or Bush administrations did," he contends, and now youth advocates need to get more involved.

The Forum for Youth Investment is a nonprofit, nonpartisan "action tank" dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are Ready by 21®: ready for college, work and life. Informed by rigorous research and practical experience, the Forum forges innovative ideas, strategies and partners to strengthen solutions for young people and those who care about them.

Publishing Date: 
June 1, 2011