Youth Groups To Be Focus of New Carnegie Research

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In an attempt to expand on what little is known about youth groups, a new task force formed by the Carnegie Corporation of New York has launched a two-year study of the effectiveness and potential of programs that serve young adolescents.

Formed as part of the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, the new Task Force on Youth Development and Community Programs will gather information on such organizations as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the ywca, and 4-H Clubs. An estimated 30 million youths are involved in the activities of such nationwide youth groups each year.

The 26-member task force will also examine youth programs offered by local public and private institutions, including parks, museums, libraries, adult-service clubs, senior citizens' groups, community organizations, churches, and synagogues.

"America's youth organizations rank second only to the public schools in the number of young people they serve each year," David A. Hamburg, the president of the Carnegie Corporation, said last week in a statement announcing the task force's creation.

"Yet," he added, "little has been written that documents what these groups actually do, and even less attention has been directed toward assessing the effectiveness of their current work or analyzing their potential for constructive social change."

Jane Quinn, the project's director and a former national program director of the Girls Clubs of America, said the task force met on May 24 for the first time and mapped out a two-year research plan.

A final report--with recommendations related to policy, funding, and new programs--is scheduled to be released in May 1992.

Specifically, Ms. Quinn said, the task force plans to examine the availability and scope of neighborhood-based services for all adolescents, paying particular attention to those youngsters living in high-risk environments.

Among other goals, the panel hopes to gather information on how teenagers spend their time outside of school, on funding for youth organizations, and on how other countries approach youth development and education.

The panel is also expected to expand on an issue touched on in last year's Carnegie council report on middle schools and adolescent development: the increasingly complex relationship between youth-oriented community agencies and the public schools.

James Comer, a professor of child psychiatry at Yale University, will serve as a co-chairman of the task force. Dr. Comer has written extensively on the role of the community in school reform, as well as on the needs of minority and disadvantaged youths.

Wilma Tisch, a former president of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, will be the panel's other co-chairman. Ms. Tisch is the chairman of the board of the WNYC Foundation, which operates the city's public radio stations, and a board member of the United Way of New York City.

The other 24 members of the task force are:

Philip Coltoff, executive director of the Children's Aid Society; Jane Delgado, president and chief executive officer of the National Coalition of Hispanic Health and Human Services Organizations; Joy Dryfoos, author of Adolescents-at-Risk: Prevalence and Prevention; Judith B. Erickson, research manager of the Indiana Youth Institute; Arthur S. Flemming, chairman of the national health-care campaign for the National Education Association; John W. Gardner, a professor of public service at Stanford University.

U.S. Representative William H. Gray 3rd, Democrat of Pennsylvania; C. Anne Harvey, director of program and field services for the American Association of Retired Persons; the Rev. Thomas J. Harvey, executive director of Catholic Charities U.S.A.; Leah Hoopfer, deputy administrator of the 4-H Extension Service; David S. Liederman, executive director of the Child Welfare League of America; Dagmar McGill, associate executive director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America.

Milbrey McLaughlin, director of the Teacher Context Center and an assistant professor of education at Stanford University; Thomas W. Payzant, superintendent of schools in San Diego; Mayor Federico Pena of Denver; Karen Pittman, director of the adolescent-pregnancy-prevention division of the Children's Defense Fund; Hugh Price, vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation; Stephanie G. Robinson, director of education and career development for the National Urban League.

Christen G. Smith, executive director of the American Association for Leisure and Recreation; the Rev. Kenneth B. Smith, president of the Chicago Theological Seminary; Marta Tienda, assistant director of the Population Research Center and a sociology professor at the University of Chicago; Judith Torney-Purta, a professor of human development at the University of Maryland, College Park; Jo Uehara, assistant vice president of government relations of Independent Sector; and Roberta van der Voort, executive director of the United Way of Seattle/King County.

Vol. 09, Issue 38

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