Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Kenneth R. Jones & Daniel F. Perkins
The loss of connected fabric that binds communities has been noted and studied by political scientists, sociologists, human ecologists, and practitioners (Potapchuk, Crocker, Schechter, & Boogaard, 1998). Yet several scholars have suggested that communities can be strengthened by building upon existing assets instead of focusing on deficits (Kretzmann & McKnight, 1990). One major resource that often goes unnoticed is young people. Many adults have biased opinions, viewing youth as answer seekers not having the initiative to use power or serve as community leaders (Zeldin, 2000). Youth who are accepted as partners (with adults) in the community can, indeed, make significant contributions. When youth are civically engaged, communities benefit by allowing young people to apply knowledge of their communities to help address local needs. Furthermore, youth involvement encourages higher levels of leadership potential and personal development, which spark a greater sense of confidence, empowerment, and positive links to the community (Lerner, ...