Positive Youth Development [PYD]

PYD is based on the belief that, given guidance and support from caring adults, all youth can grow up healthy and happy, making positive contributions to their families, schools, and communities.

DYCD highlights 8 Key factors and experiences that promote PYD

PYD is an intentional, pro-social approach designed to:

Engage youth in productive and constructive ways in multiple domains - communities, schools, families, peer groups, organizations.

Outcomes promoted by PYD include

-  Resilience, confidence, grit
-  Social/communication skills
-  Emotional competence
-  Positive relationships with peers and adults
-  Engagement in school and community
-  Sense of belonging

Guiding Principles

Guiding principles are the foundation
that defines what is important for PYD
to happen.

• Intentional, proactive process. PYD programs purposefully seek to develop protective factors and complement efforts designed to prevent/reduce risky or negative behaviors and attitudes.

• Acknowledgment and utilization of youth assets. PYD
represents an investment in young people that assumes youth have the capacity for positive growth and development. They are viewed not just as recipients of services but active agents who can use their assets to work productively in partnership with adults.

• PYD enables youth to thrive and flourish. PYD programs provide the opportunities and supports to enable youth to grow resilient, confident and competent.

• Youth leadership. Development of leadership skills is part of PYD but youth are not required to lead: they can attend programs, actively participate, contribute, or assume leadership roles.

• Civic engagement. Youth are provided with opportunities to contribute to their communities through service.

Features of PYD Programs

• Focus on youth strengths and protective factors. Program designs take account of underlying risk and protective factors in planning and providing services and offer evidence-informed interventions that purposefully promote resilience.

• Ensure basic youth needs are met and earn their trust. Programs build trusting relationships by ensuring that youth are connected to appropriate resources to meet their needs.

• Engage youth as active agents in an ongoing assessment and planning process.

• Continuously monitor program effectiveness and make improvements on ongoing basis.

Click on image above to download the PYD framework.

Positive Youth Development (PYD) Resource:

Youth Development Institute


PYD represents a shift in how we look at and provide youth services. It moves us from fixing problems to building on strengths; from reacting to risky behavior to proactively building positive outcomes; from targeting troubled youth to engaging all youth; and from regarding youth as recipients of services to treating youth as resources and active partners. With PYD, youth development is no longer just about programs and interventions – it is about relationships.

Assets are often called protective factors or characteristics of the individual and aspects of the environment that help buffer a person’s reaction to risk factors and thus, result in resilience. The Search Institute uses the term “building blocks” or assets of positive youth development that cover eight important areas of human development. Click here to learn more about the 40 developmental assets for adolescents.

Have you build in opportunities or chances for youth to practice, fine-tune, and advance the skills they have learned, as well as belonging and occasions for leadership and contribution through youth voice, participation, and engagement? We want to see youth actively engaged. What does this look like? Check out the Youth Voice rubic creaded by Freechild Project.

Supports are the mentors, caring adults, and youth workers who offer guidance and positive relationships with young people. Additional supports are clear expectations, boundaries, and structured settings as well as access to information and resources.