Why focus on youth?Transitioning from a child to an adult is an important developmental time in a person's life. Young people's brains and bodies are changing and they are faced with many important decisions. In addition, the habits, behaviors and lifestyles adopted during the teen and young adult years often persist into adulthood and have lifelong health impacts.
Guiding framework for our youth health program
Denver Public Health applies a positive youth development framework to efforts to advance youth health. In practice, this approach guides us to incorporate the development of skills, opportunities and authentic relationships into programs, practices and policies so that young people reach their full potential. Another key aspect of positive youth development is that young people have a role in designing and planning programs for youth populations.
The ways we practice and promote positive youth development include:
- Hiring youth advisors as long-term, part-time staff. Youth advisors at Denver Public Health provide expertise on youth culture and experiences, and input on program activities.
- The Public Health Denver Youth Team is the youth-led coalition that provides input to youth programs, cultivates leaders among youth interested in health equity issues, and advocates on issues affecting young people in Denver.
We believe "youth are resources to be developed, rather than problems to be solved." *