Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Nina Greenwald


The focus of my Synthesis Project is the development of a Curriculum Guide that outlines the importance of building relationships with young people that are meaningful, supported, structured and collaborative. In developing this guide, I felt it was essential to create a framework that will support my work within youth development, for young people ages 9-19, in order to scaffold learning and foster opportunities for resilient thought. In addition to supporting these learning opportunities, I also felt it was important to develop a foundation from which the staff that I supervise and work with, understand the importance of their role and the impact relationship-building can have on these young people. This guide promotes the development of youth serving professionals as reflective practitioners and mentors in order to build a structured and supportive experience for both the mentor and the young people (mentees), that is intentional and reflects the experience, needs and interests of those within the relationship. In the field of Positive Youth Development, youth-serving professionals acknowledge that the most important relationship in the life of a young person, outside of the family unit, is a positive and supportive non-parental adult who assumes the role of a mentor. The role of a mentor, in the natural setting of an after-school or out-of-schooltime program, not only helps to foster opportunities that build life and career skills, but also provides the kind of support that young people need towards developing resilient thought. Fostering opportunities that allow young people to develop both a resilient core and an optimistic outlook are essential when promoting the development of perseverance that can guide these young people to persist in the face of adversity, hardship and/or change. This guide also identifies important ways to support and enhance my own work in fostering opportunities to encourage resiliency-building within youth development. It is also essential in developing opportunities that enrich out-of-schooltime quality programming and staff growth through the development of a framework that encourages and scaffolds thinking and learning to promote the development of dispositions from a strengths-based approach. This project highlights the importance of the mentor/mentee relationship, the process and the developmental tools that can be utilized and modified. It also identifies ways of transferring dispositions that promote perseverance in other areas of their lives towards a holistic approach to fostering resilient thought. Within out-of-schooltime Programs and through a Positive Youth Development philosophy, mentoring and encouraging young people towards the development of resilient thought, is a process that can allow for authentic learning and living in order for young people to persevere in an ever-changing world.


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