The Need

The Need

Too many young people are disconnected from their communities and lack the means to make successful transitions to adulthood.[1] They also face rapidly changing economic, social, technological, and environmental challenges that call for innovative solutions. Creativity is a valuable asset for addressing societal challenges and for thriving in the global economy.

Young woman smiles with an electric guitar resting on her lap, her right hand lightly laying on the strings. Photo courtesy: Urban Gateways, Chicago, IL. Image by: Carrie Rosales.
Urban Gateways, Chicago, IL. Photo by Carrie Rosales.

However, there are simply not enough CYD programs to meet the needs of young people in our communities.[2]

Young people in the United States need more opportunities to participate in CYD programs. And existing CYD programs need more support.

Many creative learning opportunities in the U.S. are fee-based, which can be a barrier to participation. CYD programs, in contrast, are commonly long-term, tuition-free programs that provide equitable access for low-income youth. However, too often CYD programs must turn away youth who would like to participate. Additionally, numerous outstanding programs struggle financially, and run the risk of program cuts, layoffs, and staff burnout. Part of the challenge is that the creative youth development field is disparate and not enough people, including influencers and policymakers, are aware of CYD.

Young people, their families, and communities all stand to benefit from a more visible, connected, and supported creative youth development field. This Blueprint and the Creative Youth Development National Partnership are vehicles for collective action. Working together and in a coordinated fashion, we can achieve more for young people.

All these programs that I’m part of at artworxLA make me more open to meeting new people. I feel connected to each of Los Angeles’ resources. Each of the programs I’m part of make me feel like my community is not as vast as I thought it was. It’s great to know that Los Angeles is like a little pot where I’m interconnected with people.
Gieneyra, young artist, artworxLA, Los Angeles, CA

Learn how the CYD National Partnership was formed in response to needs of CYD practitioners and other stakeholders invested in the lives of young people.

Next: A Common Agenda and its Value


[1] White House Council for Community Solutions, 2012.

[2] Creative Youth Development Field Survey, 2018.