Positive youth development (PYD) is an approach to understanding youth development. PYD asserts that every individual can develop to his or her full potential when his or her interests, talents, and strengths align well with resources in the individual’s environment. Stephen Hamilton defined three ways of understanding PYD in research and practices surrounding youth programming. First, PYD is a process of growth over an individual’s life span. Second, PYD is an approach toward youth programming, providing theories that guide programs aimed at fostering youth development. Finally, PYD is specific instances of youth programming that promote healthy development in youth, including those that occur in out-of-school settings. This entry first describes the history of the PYD perspective, explains how PYD models fit within relational developmental systems ...

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