Positive Youth Development Program

Positive Youth Development


Mercy International Positive Youth Development program is a broad approach that aims to build the competencies, skills, and abilities of youth that they need to grow and flourish throughout life. The approach flows from the principle of building mutually beneficial relationships between youth and their family, peer groups, school, workplace, community, other government institutions, society, and culture to provide opportunities for youth to enhance their knowledge, interests, skills, and abilities. We do this by organizing training and conferences, creating opportunities for leadership development, training, mentorship, and by increasing participants' exposure to supportive and empowering environments where activities create multiple opportunities for a range of skill-building and horizon-broadening experiences. 

Multiple factors influence how youth develop, thrive, or struggle. Recognizing youth development as a function of and interaction between complex environments and systems can help us better respond to youth needs and development. Listed below are three core areas of youth development addressed by the Positive Youth Development program.

A.    Leadership development
B.    Mentoring, Counseling, and Tutoring
C.    Facilitating community engagement and support


Heart Bar.png

Positive Youth Development Program Components

Establish Skills Building

Develop soft and life skills through skill-building activities within individuals, family, peer and community involvement

  • Train youth in soft and life skills

  • Support youth participation in technical and academic skill-building

  • Provide youth opportunities that enable them to experience mastery or competence

  • Create opportunities within the community for youth to participate in internships and apprenticeships with local employers

  • Create community service opportunities to foster skill-building

  • Create youth support group activities

Develop Healthy Relationships and Bonding

Our services to the youth include working with other entities in the community to identify and link youth to positive adult role models, mentors, coaches, teachers, health care providers, and community leaders. Ideally, our goal is that youth will have at least one caring and consistent adult in their lives. We work in partnership with the African Christian Fellowship (ACF) and Christ Church International (CCI) to ensure the implementation of this goal. We understand that healthy peer relationships are particularly important to youth and we work hard to:

  • Link youth to positive role models (mentors, coaches, teachers, community leaders, religious leaders)

  • Train those who work with, teach, mentor and coach youth on adolescent development and positive youth development

  • Create codes of conduct for adults working with youth

Recruit staff of youth-serving organizations and adult mentors who have experience with and are enthusiastic about working with youth

Belonging and Membership

We create activities where youth feel included regardless of one’s gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disabilities. We identify and support activities that provide a positive sense of belonging (schools, sports, community service, faith-based youth group, etc.)

  • Identify youth that feels isolated or marginalized and help them link with opportunities for social interaction

  • Help youth build skills in social inclusion (e.g. tolerance, respect for diversity, communication and cross-cultural skills)

  • Train youth on how to positively express their opinions

Heart Bar.png

Youth Engagement and Contribution

Youth Engagement and Contribution

We support a variety of youth engagement activities including youth expression, youth involvement in community service, and creating opportunities for youth decision-making at various levels

  • Offer opportunities for youth to participate in independent or shared decision making

  • Support youth to volunteer and contribute at home, school, and community

  • Foster youth-led initiatives and other opportunities for youth leadership

  • Consult youth on the design and implementation of

Safe Spaces

Through working with our partnering organizations, we are able to create programs that are tailored to the needs of youth – including physical infrastructure as well as emotional safety. Space can be defined in a variety of ways, including virtual. We are committed to providing youth with safe spaces to practice, engage, and learn creatively and collaboratively. An emotionally safe space is critical to learning and youth development. We:

  • Help youth access physical, emotional, and virtual safe spaces

  • Ensure youth of all genders, class and sexual orientation feel comfortable to express themselves in safe spaces

  • Involve youth in defining and maintaining safe spaces to establish youth ownership and accountability

  • Educate youth about online safety and responsible use of social media

Positive Norms, Expectations and Perceptions

Our commitment is to provide youth an increasing amount of responsibility and independence and allow youth to grow and take on new roles.

  • Help youth understand pro-social norms, rules of behavior, and consequences

  • Engage youth to define pro-social norms

  • Involve youth to set clear and reasonable rules and consequences of behavior at home, school and in community

  • Provide youth opportunities to set expectations for themselves

  • Provide opportunities for youth to reflect on their strengths and contributions

  • Create opportunities for youth storytelling and demonstration of their skills and potential to enhance adult perceptions of youth

Partnering Organizations

African Christian Fellowship, Minnesota Chapter (ACF), St Paul, Minnesota

Christ Church International (CCI), Minneapolis, Minnesota

Christ Miracle Church Mission Worldwide (CMCM), St Paul, Minnesota

Financial Assistance

Provide support and financial assistance to youth to implement their programs