Positive Youth Development

The Issue

Adolescence is an important period of the lifespan. Physical changes, renegotiation of roles, and identity seeking are just some of the processes that youth undergo during this period - making it a time that is both challenging and full of possibilities. The task for parents, educators, and others, is to support youth in negotiating the path between success and risk during the adolescent years, and to prepare them to be successful, happy, and productive members of society.

The Response

Extension has multiple programs that support youth in their successful development. Family and youth programs focus on helping youth acquire life-skills, positive relationships, leadership roles, and experiences of success. Extension faculty and educators have also conducted research on these issues, and have made efforts to share information with the community by translating results of current research into user-friendly publications.

Coalitions and Partners

Extension faculty and staff recognize the importance of partnerships with organizations and people who have similar interests and goals. Current coalitions exist with multiple groups and faculty within UNL and other universities and colleges, various schools across the state, and other community organizations.

Impact and Results

Extension programming reaches thousands of youth and families across the state. In addition, 4-H is the largest youth organization in the whole country - with a membership of millions over its century-long history. In Nebraska, Extension programs have impacted the lives of youth by providing programs that improve family life on multiple levels. Extension has also provided educational programs both directly through extension and 4-H, as well as through schools.


See UNL website for up-to-date information on families, adolescence and 4-H programs 4h.unl.edu

Faculty Contact

Maria Rosario de Guzman TMFD Department Chair, Professor and Youth Development Extension Specialist