Why Become a
QYD Community™?

Through the certification process, the community will be more aware of the attributes and value of Quality Youth Development, and many youth in the QYD Community™ will:

  • better realize they are valued and respected

  • be offered more meaningful opportunities

  • demonstrate increased resilience and self-confidence

  • be more likely to thrive in school & as community members.

  • be more inclined to remain in, or return to, the community after school graduation.

Don't just take our word for it — here's what others have to say about the QYD Project™:

“All of the efforts to foster youth leadership statewide cannot truly root themselves in our culture without the community at large being bought into the belief and the process. The creation of a local youth-adult partnership to achieve certification as a Quality Youth Development Community is an ideal strategy for getting buy in from both the youth and the community, and in making lasting, community level change.”

- Matt Wolf, Youth Voice Coordinator at Vermont Afterschool

 “I am so thrilled that Essex is now recognized as a certified Quality Youth Development Community… the Essex community empowered me as a youth. Essex truly is a QYD Community.”


- Dominique Sweat, Former Chair of the Essex, VT QYD Steering Committee

“We applaud the success of the Middlebury and Essex communities in pioneering this new community certification process. Although QYD is a new approach, it is based on decades of experience and evidence. QYD holds great promise as a strategy to promote both youth and community development.”


- Barbara Abraham, Chair of the National QYD Credentialing Committee

“I have been continually impressed with the project's ability to engage teens, of all ages and abilities, in meaningful ways. Likewise, it has been amazing to see those teens share their many talents with our community. I can't wait to see what the group accomplishes next, now that they have achieved QYD certification.”


- Lindsey Fuentes-George, Co-Chair of the Middlebury, VT QYD Steering Committee

"This is a wonderful idea to set standards for communities to aspire to. It warms my heart. Bravo Essex and Middlebury! How far we have come!!!"


- Betty Ferries, Youth Advocate

"Having worked multiple years in communities in the field of youth development and youth leadership initiatives, one of the greatest assets is the local community members' support.  One thing that is often lacking is a way to measure, align, and recognize that support.  The QYD certification process does exactly that.  Often many people have great ideas to help youth but with no strategic vision behind those plans, they burn out and ultimately the youth of the community miss the benefit that program or person could bring.  However QYD gives direct strategy, and parameters to help a community move forward as one to help the youth of their town.  With this measurement, it helps a community to assess what works and what is missing in order to help promote the intentional and efficient use of time and resources.  In essence, QYD promotes collaboration and increases the impact that a community can have on its youth.  I would love to see this expand and be of use in other communities in the 12 states that I oversee for my organization.  Everyone always asks how can we help our youth and the first step should always begin with an assessment to find out how we can improve and increase our impact.  This is exactly what QYD provides.  It is the framework to help promote healthy community engagement with their youth."

- Robert Carpenter, Northeast Region Director at HOBY Youth Leadership

The Logic of QYD™

What is the need?

Youth need an array of external supports, from family, school, and the community, in order to develop the internal attitudes and attributes that will enable them to thrive as students and community members.

What resources are used to address this need?

A youth development framework (40 Developmental Assets), a community mobilization strategy (QYD), youth and adult volunteers, business and municipal support, a core coordinating group (QYD Steering Committee), a place to meet, and lots of pizza.

What activities result from these resources?

Recruitment of youth & adults as members of the local QYD Steering Committee, submission of a Letter of Intent & Understanding to the QYD Credential Committee, meetings to educate and recruit a broad array of community members, achievement of at least 7 of the 10 QYD benchmarks, celebration of QYD certification, evaluation of the QYD process and impact.

What achievements are the result?


Youth feel valued and validated within their community, exhibit increased confidence and resiliency, and are more likely to make healthy decisions.

What products result from these activities?


Training of Steering Committee/Benchmark Work Groups, technical assistance to SC/BWG, participation in evaluation design & implementation regarding QYD process & impact.

What is the Impact?


Youth are less likely to engage in risky behavior, more likely to succeed in school, and more likely to become productive adult community members.