Research to Practice: Making Developmental Systems Theory Work for You


Photograph of several hula hoopsAccording to the developmental systems theory, every young person grows up within a series of hoops, or environments. Over time, as a young person passes through childhood and into adulthood, each environment influences and is influenced by the next. Understanding the different settings in which young people grow up, how these environments interact, and how to work with young people within these different settings is key to helping young people thrive.

In this issue of the Exchange, we talk to esteemed youth development researcher Richard Lerner about what developmental systems theory means for youth workers. We look at two youth-serving organizations, in very different parts of the country, that have strongly linked community development to Positive Youth development. And we investigate how working with families can strengthen youth programs.

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