Franklin Johnson, who serves as Senior Director, Character Development Learning Institute, YMCA of the USA, discussed transformation, social emotional learning and character development as key levers for supporting positive youth development.
As success models change and grow, it's important to realize as youth development professionals are striving for success, it's about preparing youth for their futures—not ours.
"Social emotional learning is a key aspect of human development—not just youth and child development," said Franklin Johnson. "All of the research and all of the practice have lined up to tell us: When we know better—that means when we have intentional skills, intentional dispositions, to show up and show out with inclusion, love and empathy—we can positively influence the most. And we can certainly transform those who we have been responsible for creating the least."
The conversation also touched on opportunities to be more impactful at a systems level on boys and young men of color.
"If you can work with those on the fringe of greatness—and in our country, it's those who have been marginalized, oppressed, and trivialized—to be able to access the spoils of this great country; If we can elevate those who have experienced the least of what we have to offer, and then we are able to raise that tide and all of them are able to benefit from it," said Franklin Johnson, noting that youth development is a training ground for young adulthood.
Franklin Johnson adds that this work cannot be done alone and that collaboration is key.
"This work is not just proprietary to the YMCA," said Franklin Johnson. "There's plenty of work in transforming the lives of young people, there's plenty of good work in supporting boys and young men of color."
Being introspective is vital for next steps.
"What are the policies, what are the practices, what are the programs that we need to ensure that all people are successful?" said Franklin Johnson. "If not us, who? When you know better, you will do better—and then you will support better."
To listen to the whole podcast, click here.
Courtesy of NAA.