Professional Development

We offer two types of professional development opportunities: workshops and training institutes. Workshops are typically several hours in duration. Training Institutes are more extensive and take place over a longer period of time—often between several weeks or even several months. We are able to create a customized workshop or training institute for your organization around any of the topics below.


Creating Effective Youth Adult Partnerships: Examines principles of effective youth adult partnerships, their implications for pedagogical practice, and the impacts for participants, staff and organizations. Provides guides and hands on activities for practitioners to assess where they are on the youth adult partnership spectrum, how they move to the next level and the types of support they need; recognizing constraints and opportunities within those constraints.

Youth Leadership Development: Explores youth leadership development by focusing on: defining, recognizing, supporting and rewarding it. Also examines what it means programmatically and organizationally to have “authentic” youth participation, the role of adults and of youth, the fine lines between “guiding” and “imposing,” the management of perceptions and expectations, and the role of communication.

Project Based Learning as a Tool for Engaging Youth: Explores project based learning as a pedagogical tool for engaging youth. Topics include: learning and motivation theory; project selection, development, management and implementation; tensions between process and product; determining and measuring success.

Youth Produced Media as a Tool for Leadership Development: Explores how media, in particular film, can be a tool for youth engagement, youth leadership development and the development of critical literacies. Explores different types of film production (scripted, documentary, and public service announcement [PSA]) and the benefits of each; the role of stereotyping in media production; the role of media literacy in countering stereotypes and in developing critical literacies; developing venues for film screenings; types of equipment needed.

Engaging College Students as Mentors: Focuses on training, preparing, supporting and effectively engaging college students as partners, coaches and mentors for high school students. Topics include: recruiting students; setting goals and expectations; addressing cultural differences; exploring and dealing with assumptions and stereotypes; providing constructive feedback; reflection activities.

Parent Engagement: Focuses on engaging parents in afterschool programming. Topics include: reaching out to and communicating with parents; strategies for simulating their child’s experience in the program; using parents to network with other parents.

The ABCs of Planning and Goal Setting: Focuses on the role of planning and goal setting in projects, school, and life. Topics include: making goals SMART (Specific; Measurable; Action oriented; Realistic; Timely); strategies for incorporating these activities across different venues (projects, school, career planning and the like).

Becoming a Leader: Focuses on what it means to be a leader and how we can cultivate the leader within us. Topics include: types of leadership (personal, community, professional) uses of leadership (community building, policy change) and some essential leadership skills (public speaking, listening, facilitating, critical thinking, teamwork, networking and outreach)

Building Effective Youth Councils: Covers the fundamentals of developing a youth council including: recruitment, infrastructure development, roles and responsibilities, mission statements, building and sustaining a team, planning and goal setting, identifying priorities, networking, and gaining access to decision makers and other stakeholders.

Youth Philanthropy:  Covers the fundamentals of youth philanthropy including:  recruitment, infrastructure development, developing funding priorities, marketing the initiative, soliciting and reviewing proposals, and making and monitoring funding decisions.

Grant Writing:  Covers the fundamentals of grant writing including: identifying funding possibilities and developing the proposal from beginning to end.

Media Production: Introduces participants to how media is produced. Topics include: choosing and framing your message; identifying your audience; choosing a format; developing content; structuring and conducting interviews;  developing venues for screening;  using the camera.

Youth, Media and Identity:  Focuses on how youth are portrayed in the media and how that impacts youth-adult interactions in organizations, institutions and society.

Community Building Strategies: Focuses on ways to include community residents in planning and implementation activities in the community. Includes leadership training for community residents.

Making the Case for Change:  Focuses on how youth can advocate for change.  Topics include: problem identification, information gathering, networking and community outreach, message development, framing and delivery, audience identification, persistence and follow through.

University Engagement in the Community:  Provides an overview of the various activities that universities can undertake in the community, including the strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities inherent in each.  The various activities covered include: research, planning, technical assistance, and programming.

Doing Community Based Research:  What is community-based research?  What are the goals, methods, issues and challenges that surface?  Who does the research?  Who owns the research?  To what ends is the research conducted?  What are the plusses and minuses of involving students in the process?

Training Institutes

Training Institutes focus on leadership development at the individual, organizational and community levels.  Specific content and length vary depending on organizational needs.  Below are some examples.

Youth Leadership Academy

Employing a project-based learning approach, the Institute begins with activities around team building, goal setting, leadership styles, problem solving, and reflection. Building on this foundation, participants then identify, develop and implement a project that addresses some critical issue that they deem relevant to their lives, their schools, the organization in which they are involved, or their community.   During the project phase, they engage in issue identification, message framing, networking and community outreach, and information gathering.   Through this process, participants develop a multitude of skills including: teamwork, program planning, time management, networking, research, communication, critical thinking and public speaking, among others.  Institutes typically enroll between 10 and 20 participants. Can be offered during the summer or school year.

Community Leadership Institute

Designed for community residents of all ages who want to become leaders in their communities, the Institute focuses on key aspects of leadership such as team building, goal setting, leadership styles, problem solving, decision making, active listening, building social networks, conflict management, and reflection; identifying leadership opportunities within the community; community asset mapping; working  across age, race and class; and project development.  Depending on the length of the institute, participants may also plan, develop and implement a community project.  Institutes typically enroll between 10 and 20 participants.

Community Building Institute

Using asset mapping, goal and priority setting, resource identification, networking and planning, the Institute helps organizations and/or public agencies develop strategies for improving their communities. The Institute also addresses key aspects of the implementation process such as effective outreach, team building, leadership development, time management, resource development, communication and collaboration.