Student council, Volunteering, Basketball, or Marching Band

M.A. Gambone
January 1, 1997

The authors of this study of voluntary sector youth-serving organizations (Boys and Girls Clubs, Girls Incorporated, and YMCAs) developed a set of measures to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and examine the extent to which the youth development approach employed in these settings is successful in achieving developmental goals. Researchers found that youth spend a significant portion of their “discretionary time” in such programs, that the developmental properties of participation in these activities could be systematically measured in terms of the supports and opportunities provided, that 80% of the youth participating in these activities had experiences which contributed to critical developmental building blocks (i.e. sense of safety, sense of belonging, service), and that for the most part, the full range of participating youth (regardless of poverty or risk status) were benefiting.