Overview of Positive Youth Development (PYD)
PYD is a youth development theory that promotes a set of guidelines to support young people so they can thrive into adulthood. Traditional youth development services are often reactive and focus on fixing problems of a target youth population. PYD is characterized as proactive and focuses on developing positive outcomes that all young people need to become successful adults. In the field of youth development, PYD is summarized through the model of the 5 Cs: competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring. The Mockingbird Society defines these as follows:
- Competence: The ability and motivation for civic and cultural engagement, physical and emotional health, intellectual achievement, and employability.
- Confidence: Having a sense of self-efficacy, or the ability to believe in oneself and have a positive outlook toward the future.
- Connection: Having strong relationships with friends and families, a feeling of membership and belonging, and a sense of safety and structure.
- Character: Having an understanding and respect for societal norms, a sense for what is right and wrong, and acting with integrity and responsibility.
- Caring: Showing a sense of empathy and concern for others.
Research in the field of PYD now demonstrates that when all of the 5 Cs are present within a young person, a sixth C, contribution, emerges. The Mockingbird Society defines contribution as follows:
- Contribution: Being an active participant in one’s community, with family, friends, and taking good physical care of oneself.
The Mockingbird Society’s Application of PYD
The Mockingbird Society believes that all youth who have experienced foster care, kinship care, and/or homelessness have the same fundamental developmental needs as children from healthy families. TMS ensures the PYD theory is present and emphasized in all Youth Programs’ activities, program design, curriculum development, and evaluation strategy.