1. How is Alternatives organized?
Alternatives is a nonprofit organization that provides research based youth development programs and training to organizations and communities that build on the strengths of young people in order for them to become healthy, principled and creative young people fully engaged in the life of the community.
We are governed by a volunteer board of directors in Hampton Virginia. Our executive team is led by the executive director, Ragen Johnson, and includes three centers: Training, Creativity, and Civic Engagement.
2. What is youth development?
Youth development is defined as a natural process all youth undergo as they strive to meet their basic needs and build the necessary competencies for a productive and healthy life. This model approaches youth work from the perspective of focusing on the requirements for successful development, rather than the elimination of pathology (McLaughlin, Irby and Langman, 1993).
3. What are some other theories on which your work is based?
Resiliency, Social and Emotional Development, Healthy Child/Healthy Environment, Developmental Assets, Creativity, Youth and Adult Partnerships, Risk and Protective Factors, Prevention Technology/Community Development, Learning Organizations, and Experiential Learning.
4. Where does Alternatives work?
Alternatives currently is involved in over 45 local projects in the cities of Hampton, and Newport News that recruit young people and adults, train them to work effectively and efficiently with each other, and provides them with opportunities for these partnerships to set and accomplish meaningful results. These projects are located within elementary and secondary schools and within the school system’s central administration, in city government, within neighborhoods, and on projects that impact entire communities. Alternatives also provides training in the early childhood development curriculum Al Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices, across the nation, as well as youth worker training in youth development to youth serving organizations in the Hampton Roads region of southeastern Virginia.
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