Forum for Youth Investment
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.