DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

About This Course: A Youth Development Aligned Approach to Leadership


This module series, funded by Teagle Foundation, is a collaborative pilot project between the John F. Kennedy, Jr. Institute for Worker Education at the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD)  focused on supporting the leadership skills of DYCD staff that are also CUNY students. The pilot was originally presented in a series of face-to-face workshops throughout the 2016-17 academic year and was converted into online modules in an effort to disseminate resources to a broader swath of youth-workers. The modules encompass a four-part instructive workshop, in which DYCD staff explore an innovative youth development-aligned approach to leadership. Leadership is explored on three levels:  1) how you develop your own leadership skills 2) how you develop the leadership of staff and 3) how you support young people's leadership.  This approach aligns positive youth development principles with transformational and democratic leadership practices.


Conceptual Framework

Drawing upon promising practices in the field of Youth Development and Leadership Development, this framework offers nine core areas that allow leaders in the field of youth development to align their conceptual commitments and leadership practice.  Leaders utilizing a Youth Development aligned approach to leadership:

  • Foster a strength-based attitude
  • Foster caring-trusting relationships
  • Foster emotional intelligence
  • Foster growth mindset
  • Offer opportunities to contribute
  • Foster a culture of high expectations
  • Encourage transparency
  • Have a clear vision
  • Engage in cycles of action and reflection

This module offers an overview of the conceptual framework as it is the foundation upon which an exploration of personal leadership that proceeds it rests.  


Assessing Your Youth Development Leadership Style

In this module participants will be offered a chance to explore their own leadership style as it aligns with the nine core elements of a YD aligned approach to leadership.  Using various assessments and skill building activities, participants will be able to pinpoint areas of strength and growth. 


Social Group Work

Social group work is a methodology has its roots in the Settlement House movement of the early twentieth century and is utilized in the field of social work.  Social group methodology can be used to guide the developent of both youth and staff in the group context and pairs remarkably well with a Youth Development aligned approach to leadership.  By conducting groups that move participants (youth and staff) towards building caring-trusting relationships, fostering emotional intelligence, fostering growith mindset, encouraging transparency, offering opportunities to contribute and engaging in cycles of action and reflection, this methodology models key elements of a Youth Development aligned approach.  In this module, participants will be exposed to literature that outlines group work basics and have the opportunity to watch videos of Directors from the Center for Family Life talking about how they use social group work with both participants and staff in their programs.  Center for Family Life is a pioneer working at the intersections of youth development and social group work and their knowledge and expertise is featured heavily in this module.


Youth-Adult Partnerships

Youth-adult partnerships are an approach to building leadership that impacts both youth and adults in youth programs.  Using tools from a youth-adult partnership approach syncs with a Youth Development aligned approach to leadership in that it: fosters a strength-based attitude, caring-trusting relationships, opportunities to contribute, transparency, and a culture of high expectations for both youth and adults in youth programs.  In this module participants will learn about the concept of youth-adult partnerships, explore promising practices as well as engage in skill builders.    


Download the user manual below to begin course (note that there two different formats of the same manual).

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.