Introducing the CREATE, CONNECT, and CATALYZE Framework

I believe in the power and mystery of naming things.  Language has the capacity to transform our cells, rearrange our learned patterns of behavior and redirect our thinking.  I believe in naming what’s right in front of us because that is often what is most invisible. – Eve Ensler

Over the past five years, the CYD National Partnership has been invested in clearly defining who we are as a field, what we value, and how we can best articulate the many practices and outcomes associated with creative youth development. Documenting the beauty and depth of what transpires in creative youth development programs and understanding the crucial ingredients for success has been an important, yet elusive task.

As a field, we have wrestled with seeing how power and privilege is often associated with knowledge production, and we have been challenged to make this an inclusive process where youth perspectives, equity, and justice can be at the center of the work. At the same time, we know that as long as caring and skilled adult artists have mentored young people in their chosen art form, creative youth development practices have thrived in communities across the United States. Continue reading “Introducing the CREATE, CONNECT, and CATALYZE Framework”

Webinar on Creating a Collaborative Database for the CYD Field

Tuesday, October 2, 2:30-4:00pm EST
Join Kathe Swaback from Raw Arts and Julia Gittleman from Boston’s Youth Arts Impact Network for an overview of the findings from the report Creating a Collaborative CRM for the CYD Field. Participants will learn about the background, research and next steps for the project that will be of interest to any CYD organization looking to improve their data management systems. Please email to register.

How CYD Aligns with Allied Youth Sectors

In the process of developing the Creative Youth Development National Action Blueprint, the CYD National Partnership commissioned research by the Forum for Youth Investment that maps opportunities for alignment between CYD and allied youth sectors, such as education and juvenile justice. The table they developed identifies the various points of alignment among CYD and adjacent sectors also working toward positive outcomes for youth, states levers for connection, and lists driving frameworks guiding philanthropy, policy & practice in the various systems and settings.

CYD Alignment with Allied Youth Sectors

Graphic showing CYD Alignment with Allied Youth Sectors


For additional discussion of working cross-sector, see this piece by Cynthia Campoy-Brophy.

BYAEP’s Framework and Theory of Change

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):

BYAEP's Framework for Outcomes in Youth Arts Programs_framework

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.