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Hallo Toolbox Advisor,

At the Utrecht University I am evaluating a program in the Netherlands to promote democratic citizenship (and positive behaviour, community agency and taking responsibility for the community) among children (targetgroup 1) and their parents (targetgroup 2). that covers school, organised child leisure activities and the home. It is called the Peaceable Neighbourhood (see attachment).
What I am looking for is to learn from. I already found the Search Institute that described their method of the 40 assets and the work of Nakkula, M. J., Foster, K. C., Mannes, M., & Bolstrom, S. (2010). Building healthy communities for positive youth development (Vol. 7). Springer Science & Business Media. That describes how local programs are organised.
And I found the Accion por los Niños in Peru ( . That is very noteworthy in my opinion.
What there are plenty of is community programs that are owned by the municipality and its professionals that see the targetgroup as consumers of policy. But there are programs that make the targetgroup owner as wel but most of them are focussing on prevention of e.g drug abuse or violence abuse and not on positive behaviour.
I searched in your database and those of Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJPD), het National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and Child Trends.

In developing countries there are a lot of programs involving kids in community development (Hutter K. (2008). Young People’s Civic Engagement in East Asia and the Pacific. Bankok: Unicef East Asia and Pacific Regional Office and UNICEF (2006) Child and Youth Participation Resource Guide. Bangkok: East Asia and Pacific Regional Office. And of course Hart, R. A. (1992). Children's participation: From tokenism to citizenship. Innocenti Essays no. 4. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre). It seems much more common there, maybe because people are more used to children that take responsibility in family income etc. But there the problem is that programs are poorly described and not evaluated
My question is: do you know, besides the work of the Search Institute and Accion por los Niños of any well documented program that explicitly promotes democracy and citizenship / children contributing to the community instead of being recipients of youth policy. 2) has an ecological approach, focusing on at least three life domains. 3) target groups are children and their parents. 4) Children / participants are offered co-ownership of the program.
I am looking forward for your reply
Bob Horjus
Researcher Peaceable Neighbourhood and Pedagogical Civil Society / Utrecht University

Hello – Thank you for your question!
This is a topic that’s really important to me personally because my career for many years was working with a youth-led community activism organization. So, I know well that there are relatively few truly organic youth-adult partnerships that aren’t “owned” by a larger organization or that don’t view youth as recipients of adult knowledge rather than valuable participants in community change. It’s exciting to hear you’re working on something that breaks this mold.
I don’t have a quick answer regarding good examples of programs that fit all of your criteria. But I’ll give you some resources and names of community psychologists who do a lot of research in this area. One caveat is that these resources and people are in the U.S. But at least one of the researchers has done multinational studies. The organization and people I’ve listed below may be able to give you better answers regarding specific programs they know that will fit what you need.
Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing – This organization provides a lot of resources to promote youth organizing for community change, including an interactive map of youth organizing programs.
Here are a couple of community psychologists who do a lot of work related to youth-adult partnerships and youth activism. I’ve cited a few of their articles and their contact info.
Shepherd Zeldin, University of Wisconsin-Madison,
Zeldin, S., Christens, B. D., & Powers, J. L. (2013). The Psychology and Practice of Youth‐Adult Partnership: Bridging Generations for Youth Development and Community Change. American journal of community psychology51(3-4), 385-397.
Zeldin, S., Gauley, J., Krauss, S. E., Kornbluh, M., & Collura, J. (2017). Youth–adult partnership and youth civic development: Cross-national analyses for scholars and field professionals. Youth & Society49(7), 851-878.
Katie Richards-Schuster, University of Michigan,
Richards-Schuster, K., & Timmermans, R. (2017). Conceptualizing the role of adults within youth-adult partnerships: An example from practice. Children and Youth Services Review81, 284-292.
Tom Akiva, University of Pittsburgh,
Akiva, T., Carey, R. L., Cross, A. B., Delale-O'Connor, L., & Brown, M. R. (2017). Reasons youth engage in activism programs: Social justice or sanctuary?. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology53, 20-30.
And feel free to contact me directly at I’d be interested to hear more about your project and could share info about an evaluation we’re doing re: youth-adult partnerships focusing on mental health programs.
Best wishes in your efforts!

Question Date: Mar, 11/21/2017