Helping youth in transition build leadership skills is a critical element of preparing them for entry into adulthood. Even for those young people who may not pursue leadership roles, gaining skills in goal-setting, problem-solving, mediation, stress management, interpersonal communication, and critical thinking increase the likelihood of them becoming healthy and happy adults.

Resources on Positive Youth Development and Youth Leadership on

Positive Youth Development is

  • an intentional, pro-social approach that engages youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that is productive and constructive;
  • recognizes, utilizes, and enhances youths' strengths; and
  • promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.

This topic provides information on integrating positive youth development into youth-serving programs, involving youth in youth programs including providing leadership opportunities for them, an assessment of youth involvement and engagement, and more.

Service-Learning is a strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and self-reflection to support academic learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. This topic provides the federal definition of service-learning, how service-learning is implemented in schools and integrated into curriculum and policies, the benefits of service-learning, and more.

Civic Engagement and Volunteering is defined as working to make a difference in the civic life of a community through civic action, civic commitment or duty, civic skills, and social cohesion.  Volunteering is one form of civic engagement, as defined above, in the construct of civic action and civic commitment or duty. This topic includes information on recruiting and involving youth in volunteering and civic engagement, engaging youth in service, and more.

Youth Voices is a section of the site that provides the perspectives and reflections of teens and young adults. Their stories include the people, relationships, programs, and life lessons that have made a real difference for them. Many of the youth featured on the site discuss their experiences with leadership positions and the challenges and successes they faced.

Additional Federal Resources on Positive Youth Development and Youth Leadership

National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth is an information resource of the Family and Youth Services Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This site includes information on positive youth development and other topics.

National Resource Center for Youth Development is a service of the Department of Health and Human Services' Children’s Bureau and a member of the Training and Technical Assistance Network. NRCYD’s overall goal is to build the capacity of states and Tribes to provide high quality services to their youth in out-of-home placements, former foster youth, and other youth in at-risk situations. They have resources that target engaging youth including youth leadership development.