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Implementation Strategies

We’ve always been amazed at the remarkable ways in which educators, youth workers, community members, and parents take positive youth development principles and make magic happen! Through our Implementation Strategies, we bring you the best examples of practical strategies people like you have developed and used. Use them as inspiration for your own actions . . . or use them as they are to make a difference to the kids in your life. Either way, we know you’ll appreciate each one.


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Helping Our Youth Through the Grieving Process

Helping our youth through the grieving process can be difficult.  What is the right thing to say, and what needs to be done for different age groups? Bolster Collaborative provides some strategies to use when working with grieving children, youth, and adults.  

Topics Covered:

  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
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Staff Recognition Ideas

We know recognizing people is an important part of being a leader.  Check out these ideas you might like to try.  

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
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Diversity Bingo

Looking for an activity to use with a group?  Try this.  Not only does it give people a chance to mingle but they can also find out something new about each other.  

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
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Building Your Own Relationship Skills - A Tip to Use with Youth

We know helping young people build positive relationships is a key factor in their ultimate success. Sometimes it is difficult for an individual to really know what the roadblocks are to building strong relationships. Here is a resource you can try with young people you work with.  

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
  • Youth Outreach
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Helping Youth Create Their Own Behavior Guidelines

When children and youth take an active part in creating the guidelines for behavior in the program, they are more likely to take responsibility for their own behavior, and to accept the consequences if a guideline is broken. Author Eileen Wise explains the quick steps to creating guidelines with youth and provides an easy to use handout.  

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
  • Youth Outreach
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Introducing Mindfulness to Students with Mindful Listening

Children and adolescents today report elevated levels of stress and anxiety. Students who are anxious have additional difficulties learning, as stress hormones interfere with concentration and memory. Author Sarah Rudell Beach explains the use of mindfulness a powerful practice that is demonstrated to help young people improve their ability to concentrate, as well as develop skills for calming down and regulating emotion. Read more...

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
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Out of School Time Brown Bag Workshop Series

Finding time for staff development is not easy for people working with youth, regardless of setting.  One way the Arlington Out of School Time (OST) Council found to provide yearlong staff development was to form the OST Brown Bag Workshop Series.  Brown bag workshops are not new but what is unique is how this series is organized. Read more...

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Staff Development
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Personal Power Pendulum

Author Marilyn Peplau explains how to show youth their personal power with a pendulum.  See how simple the strategy is and the powerful results.  

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
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Using SPARKS to Inform the Work of Advocates for Children in Foster Care

Children taken from homes in which they have been abused or neglected and placed in foster care tend to lose their identity and have their interests suppressed as more urgent issues are addressed by the courts.  Author Christine Beyer interviews CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and the use of the concept of SPARKS with these youth to help them cope with all the changes.   

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Informal Mentoring
  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
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Silver Ribbon Campaign

An implementation strategy sharing best practices based on the success of South High School’s (Minneapolis) Silver Ribbon Campaign, a school-based support group for students impacted by mental illness. This is a student-led strategy to reduce bias and stigma around mental health challenges in adolescence, raise awareness about mental illness, and increase student use of supportive services in a school based setting.

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Informal Mentoring
  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
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Assessment Practices and Positive Youth Development

When the link between assessment and Positive Youth Development is made, every classroom experience becomes an opportunity to allow students to engage in, and own, the educational experience. Author Matt Barnes, principal at Eldorado High School in Elorado, CA explains how assessment and positive youth development strategies go hand in hand to increase student motivation and success.

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
  • Youth Outreach
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Momentum Bike Clubs

Check out this innovative strategy to engage children of incarcerated parents through a community-based bicycle program! Based on sound positive youth development principles and engaging a number of community partners, this strategy has great potential for replication anywhere!

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Informal Mentoring
  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
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Implementing Common Core Standards on the Ground

Author Deborah Fisher interviews principal Matthew Barnes on how to use the Common Core Standards as you continue to implement positive youth development efforts. Read more on his thoughts. 

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
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College Students Mentor School-Aged Children to Foster Their Success

Authors Deborah Fisher and Susan Savell explain how Communities for Children and Youth Initiative (C4CY) launched the expansion of Colby College's college-based mentoring program to 5 other Maine universities.  This implementation strategy provides research findings from the launch and how to set up your own college mentoring.

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Informal Mentoring
  • Mentoring
  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
  • Youth Outreach
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Building Positive Relationships, One Step at a Time

How do adults build relationships that are solid, trusting, safe, respectful, reciprocal and long-lasting? Author Nancy Tellett-Royce provides strategies that work, read how? 

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Informal Mentoring
  • Mentoring
  • Staff Development
  • Youth Outreach
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Secret Shopper

Bolster Collaborative trainer and speaker Marilyn Peplau shares her idea on being a secet shopper.  She explains how this technique can give you a unique perspective of your community from the young people.

Topics Covered:

  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
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Change of Heart Club

This video Implementation Strategy describes how public schools in Prince William County, Virginia, engaged and empowered students to make a difference in their school climate. After middle-school students and advisors attended an all-day Change of Heart retreat to address student interactions and the climate of their school, they created a Change of Heart Club to sustain the momentum of what they learned while at the event. Find out more about the club's development and its results in this short video summary.

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Staff Development
  • Youth Outreach
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It's in the Stars

This Implementation Strategy outlines a fascinating and informative discovery process former Texas Middle School Principal, Randy Adair, developed to identify those students who might benefit from proactive outreach by teachers and staff. Includes a step-by-step outline of the process that you can use in your own development sessions.

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Informal Mentoring
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
  • Youth Outreach
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