Culture and diversity
American communities are experiencing phenomenal growth of ethnic and cultural diversity. Learn ways to develop cultural competencies in your youth program.
Comments on this page? Curator: Jennifer Skuza, PhD, assistant dean
Youth Development Insight
Our faculty blog about research, issues and trends in the field. Join the conversation!
About two years ago, students at Becker High School in rural Minnesota created a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). These students wanted a space where they could be themselves, connect and feel safe in a town where they often feel they don't fit in and can't express their true identities. For adolescents, access to safe spaces is a crucial part of development and exploring self-identity. For youth programs, this is a fundamental concern.
While physical safety is the foundation of the YPQA pyramid from the Center for Youth Program Quality, emotional safety is also of crucial importance. Only when youth feel emotionally and physically safe are they able to present themselves in an authentic way and engage in positive development. Without that authenticity, true development cannot take place.
Lots of recent events have me wondering how to encourage and foster empathy. Empathy is when one person is able to understand how another person is feeling. This sense of understanding is not something we are born with, it is a skill that we learn. The ability to empathize is critical because it allows us to understand other people. It's an opportunity to show caring and compassion; one of the 5 C's of positive youth development. And, it's an essential skill for creating an inclusive world.
Reports & journal articles
Socialization of Culture and Coping with Discrimination Among American Indian Families: Examining Cultural Correlates of Youth Outcomes
This study examines the interrelations between observed parental cultural socialization and socialization of coping with discrimination, and youth outcomes among a sample of 92 American Indian adolescents and their parents in a rural reservation. 2015.
This publication looks at 4-H programming in remote rural Alaska. It highlights the importance of establishing 4-H programs within the context of culture, language and spirituality, building relationships outside of the village and promoting youth leadership. 2014.
Exploring socio-cultural factors that mediate, facilitate, & constrain the health and empowerment of refugee youth
This article contributes to a better understanding of how refugee youth themselves define and contextualize health, with particular emphasis given to socio-cultural factors that enable or constrain health promotion efforts and individual health agency. 2014.
This publication presents an overview of Minnesota's urban 4-H model for youth development. It illustrates how the model defines urban youth development, the elements of how to implement such a model, and the reasons why urban youth development can act as a vehicle to address educational disparities and provide meaningful and impactful learning opportunities to all young people. 2014.
Youth Development Through Mentorship: A Los Angeles School-Based Mentorship Program Among Latino Children
This article describes the development and evaluation of the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP), a sustainable, high-quality, SBM program among urban Latino students in Los Angeles. 2014.
Although the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires accommodations for individuals with disabilities in community settings, many out-of-school time (OST) programs struggle to successfully support youth with special needs. Based on the premise that inclusion is beneficial for children with and without special needs, this study explores the role of OST providers in successfully supporting youth with special needs. 2012.
The After-School Needs and Resources of a Low-Income Urban Community: Surveying Youth and Parents for Community ChangeUsing a collaborative research approach, this project describes a partnership between community residents and university researchers to develop a comprehensive survey of the after-school needs of a low-income urban community in a large Midwestern city. 2010.
Journal article on how the effectiveness of mentoring programs may be affected by each protege's culture, age and gender.(PDF) 2006.
Understanding the experiences of immigrant adolescents: Acculturation is not the same as assimilation
This book chapter provides a deeper understanding of acculturation and what it means to immigrant adolescents. 2005.
What we're reading
From journals and the popular media. Selected by our culture & diversity professor Jennifer Skuza.
- The Mental and Physical Health of Homeless Youth: A Literature Review | Edidin, et. al. | Child Psychiatry & Human Development
- Identity Profiles in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth: The Role of Family Influences | Bregman, et. al. | Journal of Youth and Adolescence
- Promoting Positive Youth Development and Highlighting Reasons for Living in Northwest Alaska Through Digital Storytelling | Wexler, et. al. | Health Promotion Practice
- Inclusive anti-bullying policies and reduced risk of suicide attempts in lesbian and gay youth | Hatzenbuehler, Keyes | Journal of Adolescent Health
- Culturally responsive 4-H youth development in southeast Alaska | University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension
- Progressive Education, After-School Programs and their Impact on the Lives of African American Males: An Introduction | Savage | Peabody Journal of Education
- Youth Development Through Mentorship: A Los Angeles School-Based Mentorship Program Among Latino Children | Coller, Kuo | Journal of Community Health
- Mexican-Origin Parents' Latent Occupational Profiles: Associations with parent-youth relationships and youth aspirations | Wheeler, et al. | Developmental Psychology
- Highly Impacted, Rarely Considered: A youth analysis of the impacts of globalisation on young people for the UN Commission for Social Development | Rossi (International Youth Parliament, Oxfam) | White paper
- Integration Amidst Separation: Religion, Urban Education, and the First Amendment | Magaldi-Dopman, Park-Taylor | The Urban Review
Diversity & inclusion short films
The Extension Center for Youth Development diversity and inclusion shared learning cohort provided a year-long staff development opportunity to 15 staff members. The cohort focused on a digital media campaign to facilitate the transformation process within the organization as it strives to serve more diverse audiences across the state. Topics of the films include building partnerships across cultures, culturally responsive youth-adult partnerships, serving youth with disabilities, religious inclusion and working with immigrant youth.
Our past presentations
Culturally Responsive Youth Work Matters (YD Brown Bag Webinar Series)
Explore our own cultural biases and learn how culturally responsive youth work practices can create a sense of belonging and empowerment in children and youth in our programs. 2012. Read more.
An overview of research about the effects of gender, age, ethnicity and culture on mentoring. Sanchez provides examples of how these factors may have different influences on outcomes for specific groups of youth. 2007. Read more.