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: Celebrating Community Progress, Strengthening Community Potential

By Karen Pittman, July 2005

“Now is the time to reach out throughout America… to gather in the best lessons that are out there, to gather in the energy that is out there… to give inspiration to all communities.” These words, spoken by General Powell, kicked off a high visibility national competition to identify the “100 Best Communities for Children and Youth.”

2005-07-15
Youth Today: Those Determined to Teach Do Youth Work

By Karen Pittman, June 2005

More than fifteen years ago, I began using a twist on an old saying as a way to get discussions started about the status of youth work and youth workers in the United States. We all understand the disrespect shown to teachers and students in the adage: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” Needing to communicate my message quickly, I added a third phrase: “Those who can’t teach do youth work.”

2005-06-15
Youth Today: Getting Organized, Getting Heard, Getting Results

By Karen Pittman, May 2005

Polling consistently shows that the public is prepared to invest in its young people. But Congress consistently cuts the budgets of youth programs, while special interests such as makers of ceiling fans, archery equipment, sonar fish finders and tackle boxes receive bigger tax cuts. I consider this a failure of democracy.

2005-06-01
Youth Today: Put Every Child Ahead

By Karen Pittman, April 2005

In recent weeks, children and youth advocates from across the country have joined forces with anti-poverty activists to oppose Bush’s proposed budget cuts and caps. If enacted, this plan will cripple the country’s capacity to protect and prepare young people today and in the generations that follow. We all need to find ways to bring others into this debate to re-prioritize the nation’s agenda.

2005-04-15
Youth Today: Shutting the College Doors on Poor Youth

By Karen Pittman, February 2005

Google Alerts are wonderful, a free personalized online clipping service. At the top of my clips for the New Year was this editorial from the Desert Sun (January 2, 2005) in Palm Springs, California: “Fund your college education — apply now for financial aid: Application deadlines are looming — don’t delay any longer.”

2005-02-01
Youth Today: Underserved and Undeserved

By Karen Pittman, December 2004

My computer’s spell check function automatically changes “underserved” to “undeserved.” I learned this the hard way when I had to send a publication back to press to correct the mistake that appeared more than a dozen times, including a section head. As I watched hip hop get out the vote videos the day before the election, I realized that, in the minds of many youth — urban and rural — underserved has been interpreted as undeserved.

2004-12-01
Youth Today: Good for Business, Bad for Kids

By Karen Pittman, November 2004

The Washington Post, Sept. 30: Mayor Anthony Williams gleefully announces that Washington has won the competition to be the new home of the Montreal Expos. According to the Post, Williams has flown in the face of prevailing baseball economics by offering to publicly subsidize stadium construction at a time when most cities are getting out of the business. For this, he promised to raise $440 million, making it the most generous offers in recent history.

2004-11-01
Youth Today: Evaluation: Risk Or Responsibility?

By Karen Pittman, October 2004

The July/August issue of Youth Today featured not one, but two lengthy stories on evaluation. The first, sharing the front page with a horrific story of fatal neglect within a juvenile justice facility, detailed the fallout after a recent evaluation of the Court Appointed Special Advocate program (CASA). The second, a less controversial report on the results of a multifaceted evaluation of YouthBuild, ran inside.

2004-10-01
Youth Today: Helping Youth Tell the Truth

By Karen Pittman, September 2004

The truth hurts sometimes, but it shouldn’t hurt the truth tellers. At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe. Not so for the Tiffany Schley, the valedictorian of a Brooklyn high school who was denied her diploma after using her air time at graduation to tell school officials and parents that she and her peers were graduating in spite of, not because of, the school system.

2004-09-01
Youth Today: Reflecting on 10 Years of Reflection

By Karen Pittman, July 2004

70,000. That is roughly the number of words I have written for this column over the past 10 years. It seems appropriate to devote this column to a decade of reflection.

2004-07-04