"We are fully committed, passionate and driven by supporting the development of young people"
Adolescence is the pivotal period between childhood and adulthood. It is the time when young people need to acquire the attitudes, competencies, values, and social skills that will carry them forward to successful adulthood. It is also the time when they need to avoid negative choices and behaviours that will limit their future potential. Parents, families and peer groups play a crucial role in helping young people navigate this phase. In the past, schools, neighbourhoods, and communities extended and enhanced positive development and supported young people. Indeed, an enduring image of life is the participation of neighbours and community members watching out for children, taking responsibility for their safety and well-being, and helping to steer them in the right direction.
In recent decades, a number of forces have changed both the landscape of family and community life and the expectations for young people. A combination of factors has weakened the informal community support once available to young people: high rates of family mobility; greater anonymity in neighbourhoods, where more parents are at work and out of the home and neighbourhood for long periods, and in schools, which have become larger and much more difficult to navigate through. Extensive media exposure to themes of violence and heavy use and abuse of drugs and alcohol; and, in some cases, the deterioration and disorganisation of neighbourhoods and schools as a result of crime, drugs, and poverty. At the same time, today’s world has become increasingly complex, technical, and multicultural, placing new and challenging demands on young people in terms of education, training, and the social and emotional skills needed in a highly competitive environment.
Beyond eliminating problems, one needs skills, knowledge, and a variety of other personal and social assets to function well during adolescence and adulthood. A broader, more holistic view of helping young people to realize their full potential is needed, this approach is not viewed as replacing the focus on preventing problems, but rather creating a larger framework that promotes positive outcomes for all young people. This plan promotes a new approach to youth engagement, delivered by people who have faced the majority of problems youth experience in today’s society. They are fully committed, passionate and driven by supporting the development of young people in order to have and sustain independence and positive futures.