Positive Youth Development touches upon the basic foundation of needs that youth require. Positive Youth Development entails basic needs are met such as; food, shelter, and safety. They need to be taught values and connect with others. We know this is true by looking at research done by well known experts such as Maslow who formed the hierarchy.
Maslow's hierarchy describes the basic needs that all humans require in order to be successful. The hierarchy starts with basic needs such as air, food and shelter, moving up to safety, protection and security. Then moves on to feelings of belonging and the need for love, family and affection. When someone has reached these they are then able to move on to esteem needs such as achievement, status, and responsibility and ending with self actualization.
In order for anyone to be able to accomplish what they want to, they must meet these needs. I bring this hierarchy up because in Jutta Dotterweish’s introduction piece to her presentation she mentions how "young people cannot focus on learning when they are focused on survival." They need their basic needs met "before they are able to survive in a complex world." This seems like something very basic and well-known, but it is shocking how many people do not have these basic needs, and therefore find it very difficult to have a positive youth development experience.
According to Jutta we need to look at our society, it was claimed that our society is “socially toxic”. There are too many things toxic that are present in our society such as; poverty, sexism, racism, health threats, and violence to name a few. If all of these things are present, it makes it difficult for our youth to survive let alone try to become successful.
Prevention research focuses on risk and protective factors. It "aims to prevent or reduce negative behaviors such as teen pregnancy, school drop out, substance abuse, and violence... Factors that lead to an increased likely hood that young people will engage in negative behaviors."
This is the purpose and reason for having the youth development program. It is the objective that we can provide programs to children and young adults in order to allow them to meet their basic needs and to move on to become successful. If children are able to have a positive environment at a young age, the hope is that they will become less likely to become involved in some of these toxic behaviors that Jutta discussed in her presentation.
"The philosophy or approach that guides communities in the way they organize programs, supports, and opportunities so that young people can develop to their full potential." This is our ultimate goal as youth developers to ensure that all young people are able to work to their potential and have the equal opportunity at success.