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: All Planning, No Programming

By Karen Pittman, March/April 1996

Youth Today: An Official Seal of Approval

By Karen Pittman, December 2001

Youth Today: An Unbalanced Proposition

By Karen Pittman, February 1999

President Clinton’s recent proposal to up the funding for 21st Century Schools is probably one of the youth development field’s best wins in a long time. He wants to add $400 million next year for after-school programming, for a total of $600 million. That would help provide an estimated 1 million students with after-school academic and non-academic supports and opportunities. The Youth Development Block Grant Act – which failed to win passage in the 104th Congress – was slotted for $891 million. So why aren’t youth workers cheering?

Youth Today: An Unexpected Gift

By Karen Pittman, March 2004

Youth Today: Back to School

By Karen Pittman, September 2005

September is back to school month. And for the first time in the nation’s history, many communities are beginning to get an accurate sense of just how many high school-age youths will not be picking up their backpacks to return to school.

Youth Today: Back to School Shopping

By Karen Pittman, September 2000

It’s back to school time. Reform is in the air. Increasingly, students and families are being offered more choices: Magnet schools, charter schools, CBO schools, small schools, schools-within-schools. But many students are walking into the dinosaur of comprehensive high schools that lack character, focus and connections with their students or their communities. These are the schools where few youths actively choose to be; they are assigned. In the suburbs and affluent neighborhoods, these schools will serve as places to mark time for the college-bound.

Youth Today: Behind the Teen Pregnancy Drop: Teens

By Karen Pittman, April 2004

"Less sex, more contraception." That's the story behind the continued drop in teenage pregnancy rates. According to the latest data, teen pregnancy rates are at the lowest they've been in two decades.

Youth Today: Beyond Participation

By Karen Pittman, January 1999

Power: That’s the newest word in my youth development mantra. Beyond prevention to preparation. Beyond preparation to participation. Beyond participation to power.

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.

Youth Today: Bronfrenbrenner's Legacy

By Karen Pittman, October 2005

Those of you who know me may remember the concentric circles picture I used to flash around (the one that has children and youth in the middle, surrounded by families, then peers and neighbors, then school and community organizations, then health, social services and other institutional offerings, etc.). Or you may have heard me say that, in the end, we have to remember that children don’t grow up in programs, they grow up in families and communities.