Karen Pittman's Youth Today Columns

Karen Pittman, executive director of the Forum, used to regularly write a column for Youth Today, the newspaper on youth work. This archive includes articles from her entire stint writing for Youth Today and covers a variety of topics related to children and youth.

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Youth Today: Aging Out or Aging In?

By Karen Pittman, January/February 1996

1996-01-01
Youth Today: All Planning, No Programming

By Karen Pittman, March/April 1996

1996-03-01
Youth Today: The Problem that Won't Go Away

By Karen Pittman, May/June 1996

It’s back. Henry Foster’s appointment as unpaid advisor to the Clinton-backed National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy ensures that pregnancy is, once again, a national topic. Should it be? Yes. But will this round of attention have lasting impact on the problem? The reality quotient — the relationship between proposed solutions and basic facts — remains depressingly low.

1996-05-01
Youth Today: Generators or Batteries?

By Karen Pittman, July/August 1996

If we are a profession, what do we profess? And what are the implications for training? These were the questions asked of the 150 youth workers gathered in South Africa in late March to discuss a national youth work policy. Equality, opportunities, empowerment, self-determination were the answers to the first question. Youth work, they concluded, is about living with youth and modeling a way of life — influencing young people, demanding greatness, building relationships, modeling principles, creating opportunities, encouraging and allowing leadership and empowerment. Of equal importance, it is about creating places, spaces and opportunities for young people to practice and reap the benefits of that way of life.

1996-07-01
Youth Today: Just Let Them Do It!

By Karen Pittman, September/October 1996

Participation. It’s a basic idea at the heart of the democratic ideal. One that we are at risk of analyzing to death. It’s not on a par with the youth violence craze, but youth participation may be the new growth industry in the field. Meetings to discuss definitions. Retreats to discuss need. Conferences to convene young people and adults to discuss practices and problems. Training for adults, youth and trainers. Is it really that hard?

1996-09-01
Youth Today: The Education Dilemna

By Karen Pittman, November/December 1996

Vindicated. Academic competence really is not enough. Japanese students have it. Yet Japanese business and civic leaders are looking for more.

1996-11-01
Youth Today: Beyond the Clubhouse Doors

By Karen Pittman, January 1997

Youth — Community — Civic. Development — Engagement — Involvement — Renewal. These are words that increasingly find their way into similar phrases as professionals from different disciplines arrive at the same conclusion: To succeed in their primary work (educating youth, strengthening communities, engaging citizens) they have to take on some of the goals and approaches of the other fields.

1997-01-01
Youth Today: Opportunity Knocks

By Karen Pittman, March/April 1997

Voluntary action. Organizations, associations, corporations across the country are being called upon to make significant, new commitments toward ensuring that more children and youth in the United States have a caring adult, a healthy start, safe places to learn and grow, education for marketable skills and opportunities to give back through services. LensCrafters will give one million eye exams to low-income citizens, many of them children and youth. Kimberly Clark, in partnership with Kaboom, has committed to build playgrounds.

1997-03-01
Youth Today: Know Thy Neighbor's Child: Rekindling Community Responsibility for Youth Development

By Karen Pittman, May 1997

Something big has happened that, if sustained, could change the way this country thinks about, learns about and engages its young people. For three days, the Summit focused the country on its youth and on the collective responsibility individuals, neighborhoods, organizations, corporations and, yes, government has to honor its youth. The event was unprecedented — national in its reach and loud in its voice. And to be successful, the multi-year campaign, America’s Promise-the Alliance for Youth, has to be equally unique. The details are far from being worked out. But several key ideas have taken root over the past few months that, if pushed, could keep America’s Promise from becoming what many fear — a do-nothing commission, a fund-sucking intermediary, a diversion from permanent solutions. How can it become what people hope — a powerful force for change?

1997-05-01
Youth Today: Promises, Promises.

By Karen Pittman, July 1997

The President's Summit for America's Future unleashed an unprecedented wave of national commitments, local mobilization, media coverage and individual good will. The question at hand is obvious. Will America's Promise be able to ride that wave to shore? As one who was there before, during and immediately after the Summit, I have this answer: It has to.

1997-07-01