101 Youth Voices

This youth survey and photo project from the lower Northeast Kingdom area of Vermont features the voices and images of young people in one of the country's most rural settings. Youth Catalytics (then NEN) produced it as a companion report to 'Young People Like Me, which was released last year as part of a federally funded demonstration project focusing on building better support systems for homeless...More

A Part of You So Deep: What Vulnerable Adolescents Have to Say About Spirituality

In this report, the second in a series on youth and spirituality, teens themselves talk about their experiences of spirituality and their attitudes toward a variety of spiritual activities, both secular and religious. The findings, full of passion, confusion, disappointment, and yearning, illuminate the complicated inner world of our society's most vulnerable teenagers, and offer crucial insight to...More

Adolescent Heart & Soul: Achieving Spiritual Competence in Youth-Serving Agencies

Everybody wants young people to be spiritually fulfilled, but what role, if any, can agencies play in promoting spiritual development? In this first-ever study of spiritual programming in youth-service agencies, we describe how spirituality programs – both secular and religious – look at seven agencies that do them well....More

Bringing Mindfulness to Schools: The TAW Initiative

This report introduces readers to the use of mindfulness in schools and its current evidence base by describing the work of Talk About Wellness (TAW), which was a pioneer in introducing mindfulness practices to Vermont students and educators. School mindfulness programs have been gaining in popularity and represent a promising approach to addressing students’ social-emotional needs while at the...More

Evaluation of the S. Burlington, Vt. Inner Resilience Program

This evaluation of a contemplative education program in a Vermont public school system found a statistically significant decrease in stress and an increase in mindfulness and other facets of emotional health in teachers, and self-reported positive effects among children and in five classrooms....More

From Surviving to Thriving

Transitional living programs are inherently difficult to run, and they're most difficult of all in rural places, where resources are few and very, very far between. This needs assessment focuses on TLPs in one of the most rural states in the country, Vermont....More

Goodbye, Hello

We all know that the nonprofit world is heading for a leadership crisis as Baby Boomers retire and are replaced by far less-numerous Gen-Xers. The crisis is expected to be particularly acute for youth service agencies, which came into their own only in the 1970s, and now face losing the execs who founded them. This report includes in-depth interviews with 15 soon-to-be retiring executive directors...More

I Had the Stress of the World: A Report on Young Fathers in Massachusetts

Young mothers get a great deal of attention, and for good reason. But what about young fathers? Often vilified by society, they're no less vulnerable, and they often struggle mightily to do the right thing for their children. This report features first-person accounts of young fathers' attempts to finish schools, get jobs, care for their kids, and move ahead in the world. ...More

Implementing the Teen Outreach Program with Special Populations

This resource draws on the experiences of seven Teen Outreach Program® projects implemented around the country between 2010 and 2015. Developed by Youth Catalytics for Wyman, the model's owner, the resource is based on interviews with the first sizable cadre of agencies implementing TOP with special populations. The  goal was to articulate and organize the many small adjustments and enhancements...More

Lots More Positive Attitude

This youth-focused needs assessment from Windham County, Vt., provides a framework for working with schools and other local organizations to solicit youth input on community issues, and should provide inspiration to other coalitions setting out to understand the hopes and frustrations of young people....More

Practice Unbound: Secular Spiritual and Religious Activities in Work with Adolescents

This report provides one of the first comprehensive looks at the ways human service agencies are introducing secular spiritual and religious programming in work with troubled adolescents. Of a random sample of nearly 200 youth-serving agencies, reaching from the U.S. eastern seaboard to Alaska, Hawaii and Guam, 60% report using at least one secular activity — guided visualization and 12-step groups...More

Reach Out: Enhancing Services to Out-of-Home LGBTQ Youth

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth are among the most vulnerable young people in America. In rural areas such as northern New England, the needs of LGBTQ youth are made more acute by the level of geographic and social isolation. In 2004, Youth Catalytics (then NEN) began implementing Reach Out, a project aimed at building the capacity of agencies to work effectively with...More

Seeing Ourselves Successful

What do urban youth think about their community? How could it be improved to meet their most important developmental needs? In this 'photovoice' project, a group of young people from Worcester, Mass., make observations, ask questions, deliver advice, and ponder the meaning of life, all through photographs of everyday scenes from their city. Read or download a copy....More

Supporting the Direct-Care Workforce in Children's Behavioral Health Programs in NH

The urgent need for behavioral health services in our society has never been more evident, yet youth agencies are struggling as never before. What do these agencies really do for young people, and what could they do? This report is based on interviews with direct-care workers at 16 agencies in New Hampshire, but the hopes and frustrations they voice are universal. ...More

The Hidden Workforce: Using Volunteers to Expand, Extend and Strengthen Your Services

For over a decade, experts have been telling the nonprofit world that an advancing wave of retired Baby Boomers would soon be at its doorstep, eager to share their free expertise. Now, due to demographics, the economy and evolving national policy, these volunteers are here. But are child, youth and family-serving agencies ready for them? Can they use volunteers in ways that truly improve their services,...More

Toward Success

This white paper explores the experiences of seven families, all formerly homeless, seeking stability in an affordable housing complex in Massachusetts. The report was commissioned by the housing development in an effort to understand why some previously homeless families succeed in permanent housing, while many others do not....More

Unlocking the Potential of Homeless Older Adolescents

Every good youthworker knows 'what works' in transitional living programs, but their agencies' ability to deliver the right services is dependent on many variables. This report examines the forces – internal and external – that shape the services that federally funded transitional living programs offer, and that influence their success and appearance of success. The study includes a detailed look...More

What Are We Doing to Girls? The Early Sexualization Phenomenon and How Communities are Responding

Girls are now entering puberty a full five years earlier than they did in 1920. Why, and with what evident consquences? In What Are We Doing to Girls? The Early Sexualization Phenomenon and How Communities are Responding, we identify a variety of forces that are driving the early sexualization of girls, from media and marketing to biological and social factors. While researchers explore reasons behind...More

Where to Now? Innovative Housing Options for Homeless Young Adults Leaving TLPs

'Aftercare' housing programs are specifically designed to build the competence of young people and teach them how to live on their own. But housing programs have a more specific goal as well: to prevent young people from becoming homeless. This report is based on a comprehensive literature review and a series of interviews with the directors of five agencies and one housing expert in the field, all...More

Young People Like Me

This survey and photo project from the upper Northeast Kingdom area of Vermont tapped almost 300 young people on topics such as jobs, adults, school, their communities, and the challenge of becoming adults. The project provides a template for other communities dedicated to understanding how their young people feel and what they really want from the adults around them....More

Youth Work Practice: A Status Report

An estimated 3 million adults are professional child and youth care workers, supporting vulnerable children, teens and young adults on the sometimes perilous journey to adulthood. They work in a range of settings, from residential treatment facilities to juvenile justice programs to afterschool programs. Given the importance of youth workers to the positive development of young people at risk, it is......More