Eight underlying principles guide research and development to ensure that programs are effective within the entire scope of youth environments-inner city, suburban and rural communities-and in serving young people across all income levels.

  1. Programs are comprehensive, appropriate to levels of cognitive and social development, and focus on a prevention approach and broad range of life skills that can be consistently taught and reinforced throughout childhood and adolescence.
  2. As the primary educators of children, parents are involved as an integral part of the program's implementation.
  3. Training is required for all adults implementing the curricula.
  4. Collaboration and partnership between home, school and community are essential.
  5. Each effort must be culturally relevant to the youth it serves.
  6. Evaluation and accountability support successful outcomes.
  7. Programs are values-based, emphasizing the core positive values of self-discipline, responsibility, healthy living, volunteer service, and commitment to family, school, peers, and the community.
  8. Programs are community-based, recognizing that positive youth development is best accomplished at the local level.

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