Publications

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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: 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: 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: Good, Better, Best. Have We Let it Rest?

By Karen Pittman, September 1997

What is best practice? This was the question put to us by a group of South African programs recently convened to discuss the topic. It turned out to be difficult to answer.

To many abroad, the United States is known as the land of programs. “Best practice”, as exported from the United States, is often seen as synonymous with “best programs.” Defined this narrowly, the idea of promoting best practice has a right-wrong quality that sounds less about building on what works than about replacing what exists. Understandably, grass-roots programs, in the U.S. and abroad, see themselves being assessed or franchised out of business.

1997-09-01
Youth Today: Hazardous Waste

By Karen Pittman, January/February 1995

1995-01-01
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: High School After-School: Oxymoron or Opportunity?

By Karen Pittman, November 2002

The idea of "high school after-school programming" is an oxymoron if one's image of after-school activities involves 11-year-olds munching snacks, getting help with their homework and finding creative outlets for their energy until their parents arrive at 6 p.m.

2002-11-01
Youth Today: Inequality Revisited

By Karen Pittman, November 1997

Concrete towers rising like ugly dominoes out of hard-packed dirt. Lots of kids, little else. On the edge of the row, a low-rise building with landscaping, playgrounds, basketball courts. Inside, fresh paint, plants, skylights — intact equipment, matching furniture, art on the walls. Further inside, 200-plus young people playing ping-pong, working out, doing projects, chatting — enjoying the security, space and support of the center.

1997-11-01
Youth Today: Journalists, Teach Thy Selves

By Karen Pittman, July 2002

2002-07-01
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