CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
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Distributed Today at the White House: CIRCLE Study Shows YouthBuild Builds Leaders

A major new study by CIRCLE, Pathways into Leadership: A Study of YouthBuild Graduates, shows that a significant number of YouthBuild graduates go on to become leaders in their careers and communities. Many of them hold public office or are church officials. More than one-third of the students surveyed for the study have become professional educators or youth workers.

The study was conducted by Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) – the nation’s leading non-partisan, research center on the political and civic participation of young Americans. It was fully funded by the Knight Foundation. It was distributed today during the White House Summit on Community Solutions for Disconnected Youth.

The study was conducted by surveying a diverse sample of 344 YouthBuild alumni and conducting extensive interviews with 54 graduates. It demonstrates that YouthBuild has had a profound effect in developing the leadership skills and civic engagement of young people.

The findings are extraordinary because these alumni, mostly young people of color from low-income households, have emerged as civic leaders despite facing severe disadvantages. Almost all the alumni interviewed for the study had left high school without a diploma, some involuntarily. Many were victims of violence. One third of the alumni were parents when they began the YouthBuild program. Others were homeless. Some had been in gangs or convicted of crimes. Almost half expected that they would be dead by early adulthood. With the help of YouthBuild’s innovative leadership-development and community-service model, these young people’s life trajectories have been changed.

The evaluation had quantitative, qualitative, and observational aspects, and a dimension of community-based participatory research. We sought to combine the special assets of YouthBuild alumni (deep knowledge of their own program, cultural sensitivity, and trusting relationships with peers), YouthBuild USA’s national leaders (grasp of the program’s origins, history, and theories of change), and CIRCLE staff (independence and rigorous methodological skills) by working together as a diverse team.

“This was an ambitious and rigorous evaluation based on a survey, in-depth interviews with a diverse sample of 54 alumni, and observations of meetings and events.” said CIRCLE Director Peter Levine, “It demonstrates conclusively that a substantial cadre of highly disadvantaged young people have moved from very poor life prospects to exemplary civic leadership because of their participation in YouthBuild’s leadership-development programs.”

Find the press release here.
Find the executive summary and full report here.

6 Responses to “Distributed Today at the White House: CIRCLE Study Shows YouthBuild Builds Leaders”

  1. They’re building it and it shows | Opportunity For All Says:

    [...] organization whose work is increasingly impressing me.  And with good reason: a new study released today highlights that a significant number of its graduates go on to become leaders in [...]

  2. discussing our new YouthBuild Evaluation at the White House « Peter Levine Says:

    [...] White House Posted on June 4, 2012 by Peter Today CIRCLE released a major new report entitled Pathways into Leadership: A Study of YouthBuild Graduates, funded by the Knight Foundation and distributed  during the White House Summit on Community [...]

  3. the power of civic relationships « Peter Levine Says:

    [...] Stoneman, founder and CEO of YouthBuild USA (whose leadership programming we recently evaluated), writes: Xavier Jennings, a graduate of the YouthBuild program sponsored by Mile High Conservation [...]

  4. Creating opportunity, one house at a time | Opportunity For All Says:

    [...] recent study highlighting the significant number of YouthBuild graduates who go on to become leaders in their [...]

  5. the aspiration curve from youth to old age « Peter Levine Says:

    [...] are often so high as to cause distress later. This pattern certainly does not affect everyone. We found that before teenagers enter YouthBuild, just 30% expect even to live to old age. YouthBuild raises [...]

  6. the benefits of service for low-income youth « Peter Levine Says:

    [...] CIRCLE, “Pathways into Leadership: A Study of YouthBuild Graduates” (Medford: MA, CIRCLE, 2012); Megan Millenky, Dan Bloom, Sara Muller-Ravett, and Joseph Broadus, [...]

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