Podcast: Journeys in Youth Development, Episode 2

January 25, 2023

Journeys in Youth Development Podcast Episode 2To celebrate our newly published book, The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field: Professional Journeys of Growth, Connection, and Transformation, we launched the podcast series, Journeys in Youth Development with host Georgia Hall, Ph.D., director of NIOST and co-editor of the book.

In the second episode of the series, Georgia talks to two colleagues who contributed essays to the book about their experiences in youth development: Amy Franks, associate director of learning partnerships at Book Harvest in Durham, NC, and Devan Blackwell, a longtime worker in the OST field and doctoral candidate at Hampton University in Hampton, VA. Both of their essays explore the ways in which youth development experiences can transform lives, and how youth development professionals can promote engagement in activities that foster motivation and self-reflection.

Amy reads from her essay “A Mirror for Black Boys,” about the afterschool book club for Black boys that she created. She talks about a moment of transformation, when the boys began to see themselves in the pages of the books they were reading and to feel like their stories were worth telling. Devan reads from his essay “Creating Windows Through Words,” about his use of creative writing and journaling to help youth see windows—possibilities for themselves—where previously only brick walls existed. He talks about a student who took to heart the idea of “a dream deferred” from the Langston Hughes poem “Harlem,” and connected it to a college catalog he carried in his backpack.


Amy and Devan’s essays appear in the book co-edited by NIOST, The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field: Professional Journeys of Growth, Connection, and Transformation. Through both research and personal essays, the book shines a light on the intricate connections between research and practice, touching upon both the vulnerability and triumph of youth development work. The passionate voices of youth workers in this volume lead to the inescapable conclusion that programs and policies for youth must be informed by these same voices and the values they express.

You can find the Journeys in Youth Development podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and iHeart Radio. Follow the podcast on your favorite platform to get notified when new episodes are released monthly.


    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."

    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."

    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation


    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."

    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."

    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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The National Institute on Out-of-School Time

A program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA

Directions to NIOST

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