To encapsulate the positive outcomes that occur for young people who participate in CYD programs, the Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project (BYAEP), a partnership of practitioners, program evaluators, and funders, developed the following theory of change, Framework for Outcomes in Youth Arts Programs (2012):
The BYAEP theory of change posits that:
If youth participate in high-quality arts programs, they will develop specific skills and competencies (I Create, I Am, We Connect),
which, in turn, leads to a set of intermediate outcomes (able to engage and be productive, to navigate, and to make connections with others),
which in turn leads to a set of long-term outcomes (resiliency, self-efficacy and personal fulfillment, and community engagement) that together constitute life success.
The BYAEP framework is consistent with other models of a theory of change for CYD, for example Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit’s Excellence on Stage and in Life: The Mosaic Model for Youth Development Through the Arts, which categorizes the key outcome areas of its CYD program as Skills, Self, and Society. Skills in the Mosaic Model includes what BYAEP calls I Create; Mosaic’s Self relates to BYAEP’s I Am; and Society in the Mosaic Model is akin to We Connect in the BYAEP framework. These theories of change reflect thoughtful deliberation of high quality CYD programs and how they support positive outcomes for young people.
Many youth participants in CYD programs attest that their involvement changed the trajectory of their lives. Additionally, numerous young people state that participation in a CYD program effectively saved their lives. However, there are not enough CYD programs to meet the needs and interests of young people in our communities. While creative youth development is on the rise, not every community has CYD opportunities for young people. And some outstanding programs have waiting lists of young people who never have a chance to participate because demand exceeds the number of openings.
“Parents of 18.5 million children (38 percent) not currently participating in afterschool programs say they would enroll their children if a program were available to them.”
Clearly there is unmet demand among youth and families for high quality afterschool programs. So how do we know that there is unmet demand for CYD programs, specifically?
The Search Institute has conducted substantial research in the area of young people’s deep interests and passions, or their sparks, with compelling results about young people’s interest in creative pursuits.
Creative arts was the number one interest area cited by U.S. teens aged 12-17 among the top 10 sparks categories. In fact, creative arts was cited by 54% of teens, more than twice as often as the number two category, athletics, which was named by 25% of teens surveyed (Benson, 2008).
“…creative life…art, music, drama, dance, movement is the largest category in which sparks fall for America’s kids…that’s the area in which the most kids say, ‘I’m my best self.’ It’s the arena in which most kids will say “ is where life is the fullest and most hopeful.” (Benson, 2011)
Young people are clearly interested in opportunities for creative skill building, inquiry, and expression, which is at the heart of CYD. So policymakers, funders, youth developers, community leaders and others who value supporting young people in identifying and cultivating their sparks, or personal passions, should support increasing access to and investment in CYD. High-quality creative youth development programs are essential pathways for young people to thrive.
On July 24 and 25, nearly 100 leaders from across sectors will come together in Boston for the 2017 CYD National Stakeholder Meeting with a charge to broaden and deepen the impact of Creative Youth Development throughout the United States and the world. This group will include practitioners, youth, funders, policy makers, thought leaders, researchers and government officials who all recognize CYD as a vehicle for positive youth outcomes.
This two-day working meeting has three primary goals:
To understand the outcomes that unify creative youth development work across sectors;
To identify the most promising areas for further collective work that will add value to the creative youth development field and the experience of young people through the lenses of funding, visibility, and technical assistance; and
To understand our collective capacity to move one or more of these strategic areas forward as a coalition.
Last week the Creative Youth Development National Partnership hosted a panel of cross-sector leaders at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, California to discuss creative youth development and cross-sector partnerships. Panelists included:
Robert Sainz, Assistant General Manager at City of Los Angeles and head of the City’s Economic and Workforce Development Department
The Creative Youth Development National Partnership has appointed 10 members to its National Advisory Committee. Additional advisors will be appointed in the coming months. This cross-sector Committee will play a significant strategic role in helping to shape and vet strategic recommendations for how to advance the field of CYD.
We are pleased to announce the following advisors:
Nicole Amri, Program Director, SAY Sí, San Antonio, TX
Jennifer Cole, Executive Director, Metro Arts, Nashville, TN
Sarah Cunningham, Executive Director of Research, School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Deb Habib, Executive Director, Seeds of Solidarity, Orange, MA
Alex Johnson, Managing Director for Californians for Safety and Justice, Oakland, CA
Cristy Johnston Limon, Executive Director, Destiny Arts Center, Oakland, CA
Erik Peterson, Vice President, Policy, Afterschool Alliance, Washington, D.C.
Kwame Scruggs, Founder and Director of Programs and Training, Alchemy Inc., Akron, OH
Matt Wilson, Executive Director, MASSCreative, Boston, MA
Jason Yoon, Executive Director, Atlas DIY, Brooklyn, NY
Collective Impact Project Identifying Actionable Strategies for Advancing CYD
Building on the national agenda set forth at the National Summit on Creative Youth Development in 2014, the first-ever National Blueprint for Creative Youth Development will identify and prioritize actionable strategies for achieving shared goals for cross-sector advancement of creative youth development (CYD). Goals include supporting and advocating for effective business models, new revenue sources, and increased funding; documenting and communicating impact through shared language, systems, and tools; connecting programs with local community development initiatives to improve community outcomes; and strengthening cross-sector partnerships among local and national organizations. Continue reading →