Proof Positive!


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    4-H Study of Positive Youth Development


    For more than a decade, preeminent youth development scholars, Drs. Richard M. Lerner and Jacqueline V.
    Lerner, and the team at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University, Medford,
    MA, partnered with faculty at America’s land-grant universities to conduct this groundbreaking research.


    The first-of-its-kind research defined and measured positive youth development. The result is a model that is
    driving new thinking and approaches to youth development around the world.


    4hersmorelikely               4herspartricipate


    The research is helping families, schools, communities, and youth programs develop strategies to support children and adolescents.  Effective youth development programs like 4-H are putting the research to work by focusing on three important areas:
         • Positive and sustained relationships between youth and adults
         • Activities that build important life skills
         • Opportunities for youth to use these skills as participants and leaders in valued community activities


    The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development is a longitudinal study that began in 2002 and was
    repeated annually for eight years, surveying more than 7,000 adolescents from diverse backgrounds across 42
    U.S. states.

    The first wave of research began with fifth graders during the 2002-2003 school year and ended with
    twelfth graders (Wave eight) in 2010. More recently, the Tufts research team examined all eight
    waves of data and conducted new and more rigorous analyses in order to produce the latest
    comprehensive report of findings. The new report, while sometimes diverging from earlier results,
    provides powerful evidence of the impact of 4-H participation throughout Grades 5-12.

    “The potential for change is a core strength of all youth – a strength that can be built upon. This
    strength is cause for optimism for it means we can positively influence the life paths of all children.“---Lerner
    et al., 2013