Young people make a better Vermont.
The Vermont Youth Project (VYP) is a statewide initiative supporting communities with building an environment that embraces positive youth development. As the state developer and manager of VYP, Vermont Afterschool helps participating communities establish local coalitions centered around positive youth development, creating localized plans to address risk and protective factors of youth, supporting youth voice and engagement, and building cross-sector partnerships and collaboration. Communities that participate in VYP commit to empowering youth and creating healthy accessible spaces for youth to be themselves, engage with peers, learn new skills, and connect with caring adults.
VYP focuses upstream by exploring the societal and environmental factors (“causes of the causes”) that lead to risk and protective factors that influence the behaviors of youth. With this information, communities are able to create strategies that support increasing protective factors in youth through healthy environments.
Data from the most recent VYP Survey found key risk factors facing today’s youth in Vermont.
Positive Youth Development and Protective Factors
Positive youth development emphasizes building on youth’s strengths, creating opportunities to help youth achieve goals; fosters healthy relationships; and promotes protective factors. There are many domains that youth interact with frequently and they can have protective impacts on a youth’s well-being.
VYP includes evidence-based efforts into the framework of its Vermont approach to positive youth development; including Iceland’s Planet Youth data tool, Finland’s youth voice efforts, and initiatives already working well in Vermont.
At the foundation of VYP are the annual key data findings. VYP collaborates with Iceland’s prevention efforts and uses their Planet Youth data tool to support communities in positive youth development. In the five communities implementing the model at the fullest level, local youth take a survey in the fall and communities receive the key data findings eight weeks later so they know what’s going on with their youth right now.
- VYP Community Lead Toolkit
- Community Asset Profile Guidebook (updated 2022)
- Positive Youth Development: Prevention Resource Guide for the Third Space (guidebook updated 2020)
- Youth Resilience: Strategies for the Third Space (report published 2019)
- Vermont Youth Declaration of Rights (written by young people)
Stay tuned for future workshops in the VYP training series. These online workshops, offered at no cost to participants, are typically open to parents/caregivers, third space program staff, community members, youth workers, coaches, and other partners.
Coaching Beyond Winning: Social Emotional Learning in Action
This workshop will focus on positive youth development in third space settings such as sports teams and afterschool activities. Topics include adolescent brain development, social emotional learning, resilience, and protective factors for primary prevention efforts.
Parent Collaboration and Co-Communication
Participants will learn about increasing the protective factors of youth through community parent collaboration and co-communication. Local and statewide data from the Vermont Youth Project survey will be presented along with supportive activities for participants to develop local strategy ideas to support parent collaboration and co-communication.
Third Space for Youth
Participants will learn the definition of third space, why it’s important in communities, and how to increase the protective factors of youth through the third space. Local and statewide data from the Vermont Youth Project survey will be presented along with supportive activities for participants to develop local strategy ideas to support the third space.
Substance Misuse and Youth Perceptions
Participants will learn about current youth responses regarding substance misuse and their perceptions around parental reactions and peer use. Local and statewide data from the Vermont Youth Project survey will be presented along with supportive activities for participants to develop local strategy ideas to support reducing substance misuse and addressing youth perceptions.
- Vermont kids are struggling during the COVID pandemic, Burlington Free Press (March 2, 2021)
- Gov. Scott: 'Our kids are not OK', WCAX (February 26, 2021)
- Survey show VT youth struggling to cope with COVID, Rutland Herald (February 3, 2021)
- Mentoring organizations remain connected to VT youth, Rutland Herald (September 23, 2020)
- Educational boxes will be available for local kids this summer, Rutland Herald (June 11, 2020)
- Vermont Youth Project continues in Enosburg, Richford, St. Albans Messenger (April 21, 2020)
- Local data for community-based prevention: Vermont Youth Project's role in reducing substance use among teens, Afterschool Alliance (March 2, 2020)
- Vermont Adopting Iceland Program to Curb Substance Use, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (February 5, 2020)
- New Data Highlights Risk & Protective Factors for VT Youth (press release January 2020)
- Youth survey results to be presented, Rutland Herald (January 13, 2020)
- Initiative aims to reduce risky behaviors, Rutland Herald (August 29, 2019)