Adolescence is a time of change, both physically and emotionally. It’s also the time when young people should begin to make healthier choices for themselves to ensure a beneficial future.
Youth development is a process that prepares a young person to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood in order to achieve his or her full potential. Youth development is promoted through activities and experiences that help youth develop social, ethical, emotional, physical, and cognitive competencies.
Conditions that promote healthy youth development are supported through programs and activities in schools and communities. Youth development researchers and practitioners emphasize that effective programs and interventions recognize youths’ strengths, and seek to promote positive development rather than addressing risks in isolation. Youth who are constructively involved in learning and doing; and who are connected to positive adults and peers are less likely to engage in risky or self-defeating behaviors.
Providing the conditions for positive youth development is a responsibility shared by families, schools, and communities.
Today’s youth are disproportionately affected by some of the world’s toughest challenges. These challenges include unemployment, poor health (physical, mental, and emotional), educational barriers, and displacement. With the right investments and support, the youth demographic dividend can accelerate development across all sectors.