(Re)Connecting Youth Framework


By leveraging current IYF connections and reaching out to new organizations, stakeholder engagement and outreach were conducted to gain an understanding of the U.S. programs, services, and initiatives working to reconnect youth and to identify opportunities for learning. This research included in-depth interviews, focus groups, desk research, and site visits.





From the U.S. research, the project team prioritized approaches from the global experience that were holistic and successfully incorporated at least one of the following thematic areas into their youth reconnection approach:

  • Youth involved in the design and delivery of programs for opportunity youth to promote peer-led programming, youth leadership, civic engagement, and movement building.
  • Social-emotional and life skills integrated into second chance, job readiness, vocational training, and other programs serving opportunity youth.
  • Creative engagement and recruitment strategies involving sports, play, or culture used to appeal to youth participants.
  • Labor market analysis and employer engagement considered to ensure that youth are acquiring the skills needed to succeed.





Global promising practices were drawn primarily from the Latin America and the Caribbean region—with some exceptions­ for exemplary practices from other regions. The selected practices represent the following characteristics:

  • Alignment with the thematic priorities identified through the U.S. research;
  • Focus on disconnected young men and women, generally in urban contexts;
  • Demonstration of a promising or proven approach;
  • Reflection of a holistic, socio-emotional learning framework, and
  • Use of nontraditional approaches and/or incorporation of nontraditional stakeholders.


In order to identify practices with the largest possible impact in terms of knowledge sharing and applicability to the U.S., IYF will do the following:

  • Interview youth-focused institutions, youth leaders, and donor agencies regarding their best experiences based on the criteria outlined above;
  • Consult the Global Youth Wellbeing Index, a diagnostic tool to measure youth wellbeing across communities and countries created by IYF, CSIS, and Hilton; and
  • Conduct desk research of promising practices in youth connection from Latin America and the Caribbean.





The (Re)Connecting Youth framework will include two to four targeted peer-to-peer learning exchanges between one or more U.S. youth-serving organization(s) and a global youth-serving organization, with the goal of sharing a promising practice from abroad with the U.S. organization(s).

Organizations are paired based on what the U.S. organizations express as their needs in order to offer more effective youth services or programs. Global NGOs that can offer expertise or proven approaches that may help to meet those needs are paired with the appropriate U.S. organizations.

The U.S. youth serving organizations will benefit from the exchange by participating in workshops, trainings, or document sharing on the global NGO’s methodology, in addition to site visits to see programming in person.

The global NGO will receive increased visibility for promising practices and will have the opportunity to educate others on their programs and practices within the U.S. youth development space.





The project team documented each promising practice and targeted learning exchange to achieve the following:

  • Tell the story of the approach and why it is effective.
  • Identify the distinguishing characteristics involved in the practice.
  • Capture information that supports each critical element.
  • Identify the tools, processes, and systems that support the adaptation of the promising practice.

Approaches will also be looked at collectively to identify core elements or values that underlie an enabling environment and demonstrate how approaches can be adapted or applied in a variety of contexts and settings. Learning products will bring together several products using the same intervention.

To promote and foster adaptation of the promising approaches, the project team will disseminate the documented lessons through peer-to-peer learning methods, direct training, and distribution. These include, but are not limited to, webinars, speaking engagements and panel discussions, social media, etc.

The project team will target a broad network of stakeholders in order to maximize reach. These stakeholders include: researchers, policy-makers, practitioners, funders, and employers.





As a result of this project, IYF expects the following results:

  • 6 - 8 new publications or videos that document successful global youth development experiences and practices, produced by IYF in conjunction with global partners;
  • Targeted U.S. practitioners, policy-makers, funders, and other stakeholders working with disconnected youth who have increased awareness of the need for holistic youth programming and knowledge about practices and insights from the global youth sector;
  • Targeted U.S. stakeholders who put into action the lessons and practices shared from abroad;
  • Awareness raised about successful global experiences around disconnected youth services among a cross-section of relevant U.S. stakeholders; and
  • 8 - 12 learning products produced and disseminated through a variety of channels.
  • 6 - 8 new publications or videos that document successful global youth development experiences and practices, produced by IYF in conjunction with global partners;