The Social Development Strategy

You can make a difference!

The Social Development Strategy in Action: St. Anthony Hospital

The Social Development Strategy in Action: Jeffco School Student Health Advisory Council

The Social Development Strategy in Action: Jeffco Public Libraries

The Social Development Strategy in Action: Public Policy Advocacy

The Social Development Strategy

Researchers have identified protective factors that increase the likelihood of health and success for individuals of all backgrounds, and can be adapted to work in a variety of settings or people. It's called the Social Development Strategy.

The Social Development Strategy is a research-based system for improving outcomes for youth. It's easy to use, easy to remember-- and it works for people of all ages.


First, provide developmentally appropriate opportunities to meaningfully and actively engage in a club, job, volunteer organization, board, team, project, internship or club.


Provide instruction, resources, examples or mentors to build or enhance skills needed to succeed with the opportunity. Of course, many times skills are exchanges, so you will teach sometimes while getting to learn skills yourself other times.


Celebrate! Reinforce positive contributions with specific, honest feedback and praise for effort, accomplishments and skill-building. Recognition can take many forms-- for example, increased responsibilities, verbal praise, awards, using their work, or seeing real change happen.

Results in bonding

We all want to belong. Being recognized as someone who is contributing to a peer group, family, school, community or organization leads to bonding and commitment to the people and groups they are working with.

That, when coupled with clear standards

Through bonding, people become motivated to live according to the standards of the person or group with whom they are bonded. Clear standards includes having conversations with youth about important issues, including substance use, relationships, boundaries and more.

Leads to positive, healthy outcomes

Research has shown that adults who learn and use this strategy create a strong protective factor for the youth they are working along side that results in positive, healthy outcomes for both the youth and their community.

This strategy forms the backbone of Communities That Care work in Jefferson County, and around the globe!

How can you provide opportunities, skills & recognition

for Jefferson County youth?