ThrYve uses a positive youth development (PYD) approach that focuses on building the strength and resiliency of youth through engagement in productive environments and activities. Since most risks associated with adolescence are environmental, a PYD approach is best because it shifts from stifling risky behaviors to instead creating intentional learning situations and oppertunities. The latter allows youth to enhance the strengths that emerge during adolescence.
A PYD approach also helps to build emergent adolescent skills such as increasing capacities for cognitive, social, and emotional functions. This happens by providing youth with experiences that match their developmental needs and it is why positive experiences both in and outside of school are important for positive youth outcomes.
The 5 C’s of Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, and Caring are youth outcomes associated with positive youth development (Lerner, et al., 2005). Attainment of the 5 C’s during adolescence promotes abilities for youth to thrive in their socio-ecological environments. For example, research shows that these Five C’s are positively associated with voluntarily helping others and low-risk profiles among adolescents—in terms of mental health, aggression, and alcohol use (Arbeit et al., 2014; Williams, Anderson, Francois, Hussain, & Tolan, 2014). Research also shows that once the 5 C’s are learned as a youth, the 6th C of contribution to family, community, and civil society will emerge in late adolescence/young adulthood (Lerner, Dowling, & Anderson, 2003).
Indicators of the 5 C’s of positive youth development include highly involved parents, positive social identity achievement, and participation in after-school programs such as sports and neighborhood interventions.
The goal of ThrYve is to create environments and programming that incorporates the PYD approach to help youth develop socially and emotionally.