How we Work
Few organizations are as committed to improving critical communications skills among young people. Our program model builds on and emphasizes the strengths of young participants, rather than their deficiencies. BYL also collaborates with community members like families, corporations, churches, schools, non-profits, and other stakeholders.
Clinical psychologist James Pennebaker of the University of Texas at Austin, the leading researcher in the area of journaling for physical and mental health, stands behind this tool. Pennebaker’s research suggests that writing strengthens both people’s immune system and minds. Putting this research into practice, BYL works with students to journal their experiences during participating in our programs.
Soft Skills Development and Work-based Learning
Research from the America’s Promise Alliance, founded by former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell to enlist volunteers to assist young people at all socio-economic levels, has shown that schools and communities cannot afford to focus solely on academics. Applied skills are also essential to individual and organizational success and to the future well-being of all people. BYL’s programming also focuses on soft skills development through real-world experience. This competence will be enhanced in the important areas of decision-making, teamwork, communication, and working with diversity.
Effective Technology Use
Social media and technology have transformed how people communicate and acquire, create, and share information. BYL recognizes these tools are an innovative way to acquire knowledge, exchange ideas, and create content. Our programming helps students develop effective strategies of using technology to communicate to complement verbal and non-verbal skills rather than replace them.
Service Learning and Community Involvement
Our programming will emphasize the importance of youth participation in community and civic engagement by working with organizations to design strategies that increase involvement. Youth.gov, the government initiative that creates American youth programs, has identified several benefits to youth participation in service learning, including:
- Improvement of academic outcomes for students.
- Improvement of character values and responsible behavior.
- Promotion of a sense of connectedness to the school and community.
- Promotion of social and emotional skills.
- Promotion of civic participation.