The Michigan Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (MAFCS), with co-sponsorship by the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, held its Annual 2010 meeting at the Kellogg Center, East Lansing, Michigan, July 16, 2010. The keynote luncheon speaker and workshop leader was Richard M. Lerner, renowned Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science, Eliot Pearson Department of Child Development and Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University, in Medford, Massachusetts. Two of his graduate students, Miriam Arbeit and Christopher Napolitano assisted Dr. Lerner with the keynote presentation and workshop.
The luncheon address was focused on Positive Youth Development: The Strengths of Diverse Youth followed by a 2 hr. workshop related to The Strengths of Diverse Youth: From Research to Practice. These two presentations provided invaluable information for participants that, first, explained past and current the findings from Lerner and colleagues’ national, longitudinal 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development (PYD) and, second, that translated these findings into tools for practitioners to use to enhance PYD. This significant translational work by Lerner, his colleagues, and graduate students is funded by the Thrive Foundation for Youth and involves developing rubrics for the key cognitive and behavioral skills identified as constituting individual strengths related to PYD. These skills involve intentional self-regulatory behaviors of goal selection, optimization and compensation.
Participants in these meetings were able to provide input and receive feedback through question and answer sessions following the luncheon presentation and the workshop. These events contributed significantly to MAFCS by providing for its membership, and other professionals from across the state socially-relevant professional development experiences related to youth.
Richard M. Lerner, Ph. D., Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science, Director, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University.