Risks and Opportunities for Success: Perceptions of Urban Youths in a Distressed Community and Lessons for Adults

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This article presents the challenges facing 41 youths living in a distressed urban area, and their adaptations to those challenges. Scholarship in the areas of community building, youth civic engagement, and employment helped to develop the theoretical outline for this project. Through the use of focus groups, adolescents of color, ages 14–18, were asked a series of open-ended questions about what youths need in order to be economically and socially involved in their neighborhood. Responses indicate a need for practitioners to incorporate protective factors in the community environment, and nonkin adults in intervention plans and programs. In addition, the evolving innovative partnership between a newly formed community development corporation and the neighborhood youths that emerged from this process is discussed.

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Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, v. 85, issue 3, p. 335-344