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Community-Based Supports for Urban Youth

Private beneficence is totally inadequate to deal with the vast numbers of the city's disinherited.

—Jane Addams (1910/1961, p. 204)

At the local level, ideas about the role of neighborhoods and the importance of positive, community-based resources for youth have remained remarkably consistent since 1889 when Jane Addams and Ellen Starr Gates opened Hull House in Chicago to improve the lives of “the city's disinherited.” Arguably, Chicago's settlement houses represent the first intentional efforts to provide supports and opportunities for vulnerable urban youth. Hull House made youth problems a neighborhood problem and worked to create a sense of “neighborhood uplift” to enable immigrant youth and families to compete on equal ground with their middle-class counterparts. Settlement workers purposively focused on developing skills and assets; this deliberate emphasis ...

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