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: Taking Risks for Transition-Age Youth

On any given day, scores of young people with limited individual and social capital are simultaneously struggling to exit some systems and enter others: foster care, residential treatment centers, higher education, mental health programs, gainful employment.

2009-06-02
Youth Today: a "5 Star" President Who Happens to be Bi-Racial

On January 20, I joined millions of Americans and millions more around the world to watch the inauguration of our 44th president. Bad knees kept me out of the crowd, but I dutifully taped the day for family and friends who went out to be counted. I beamed at the image of the soon-to-be president, head back, eyes closed, breathing in the wonderful music played by Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman.

2009-03-02
Youth Today: Ready for Life: Yes, That Means College

By Karen Pittman, December 2008

The core belief here at the Forum for Youth Investment – that all young people should be Ready by 21 – ready for college, work and life – often provokes public criticism.  The exchanges typically go like this:

“Not every young person needs to go to college,” calls out one person from an audience. True, I say, but all should be ready to.

2008-12-01
Youth Today: Wanted: Youth Work Principles in Schools

By Karen Pittman, July 2008

Seven students recently joined me for breakfast in a windowless conference room in Des Moines to talk about “the high school dropout crisis.” They were experts: Five had dropped out. Another had come very close.

2008-07-01
Youth Today: Precision Engineering

By Karen Pittman, May 2008

Creating sound bites that are not only memorable but communicate a message is a passion of mine. Every now and then I hit one out of the park. “Problem-free isn’t fully prepared” is still in use after more than 15 years. I think “bringing precision to our passion” may be the next one to stick.

2008-05-08
Youth Today: Superintendents of Learning

By Karen Pittman, March 2008

2008-03-04
Youth Today: Creativity, Sprituality and Youth Work: Claiming the Territory

By Karen Pittman, December 2007

Embedded in the pages of the October Youth Today were two pieces that are worth revisiting so that they can be connected. Consider this a low-budget instant replay with comments.

The first piece was Peter Benson’s column, “Youth Development and the Creative Life,” in which he laments the continued decline of investment in the arts and offers data that suggest that the most common source of “spark” for U.S. teens—“the interest or talent from which we derive energy”—is the creative arts. According to Benson’s research, “music, art, dance and writing are mentioned twice as often as sports” by both boys and girls.

2007-12-12
Youth Today: Extending Learning—Will We Ever Get it Right?

By Karen Pittman, October 2007

I had a few hours to read, so I pulled out the folder into which I cram all of the things that catch my eye and might make good material for a column.

Here’s what I read recently:

2007-10-01
Youth Today: Children's Rights, Children's Advocates, Children's Cabinets

In late March, the Rhode Island Foster Parents Association (RIFPA) staged call-ins to the legislature to oppose the budget cuts to youth in the child welfare system. Par for the course? Not quite.

2007-05-01
Youth Today: Evidence of a Darker Reality -- The Black Youth Project

By Karen Pittman, March 2007

Six in 10 African-American youth believe "it is hard for young black people to get ahead because they face so much discrimination,” according to a University of Chicago (UC) report released in February.

2007-03-01