By Kent Pekel, Ed.D., President and CEO, Search Institute At the start of the current school year, I was struck by the number of superintendents, principals, and other educational leaders across the country who called on parents to get more involved in their children’s learning. I also noted that many of them promised to make […]

National Bullying Prevention Month shines a spotlight on this critical issue in schools and youth programs. Bullying undermines learning and development, and it can have tragic consequences for students. Whether as a bully, a victim, a bystander, or an upstander, each and every student is affected. The focus on bullying also shines a spotlight on […]

Schools. Afterschool programs. Churches. Mental health services. Mentoring programs. Family-serving organizations. Juvenile justice services. Youth groups. The list goes on. With so many different groups serving young people in a variety of ways, it can be challenging to implement a shared vision, shared goals, and a shared strategy for youth development in a community. In […]

By Jenna Sethi, Ph.D., Research Associate, Search Institute What does it mean to create a culture of youth voice? What roles do young people and adults play in creating this culture? How can it be implemented and sustained? Search Institute recently partnered with the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend (CFGRB) in the Quad […]

“The system would identify problems and try to fix those problems. This ends up being a very negative approach,” says Williamson County (TX) Juvenile Services (WCJS) Executive Director Scott Matthew. This is why around 7 years ago Matthew began looking at how WCJS—which includes a detention center, residential facilities, an on-site school, and community prevention […]

By Kate Hagner, Program Quality Manager, Student Conservation Association The Student Conservation Association (SCA) has been a partner of Search Institute since 2012, when we embarked on an ambitious, multi-year project to better understand young people’s experiences in our programs, build our capacity to deliver transformative youth development experiences, and measure the impact these experiences […]

Search Institute President and CEO Dr. Kent Pekel was interviewed for the latest issue of Thrivent Magazine on the ways in which adults can help kids get on the path to thriving. Click on the button below to download the article and learn more about the five developmental relationship strategies that help kids feel motivated […]

The Roots of Engaged Citizenship Project has helped advance our understanding of how young people think about civic issues and grow into civically minded adults. This collaborative research project with West Virginia University and University of Rochester aims to understand how young people become individuals who positively contribute to their communities, help others, and participate […]

The New ParentFurther: A Resource for Strengthening the Relationships that Matter Most in Families Is your organization or school looking for creative ways to engage your young people’s parents and families? An all-new website from Search Institute,, is a great resource for parents. The website features quick quizzes, conversation starters, and activities that bring […]

By: Kent Pekel, Ed.D. As I visit schools, youth programs, and community coalitions across the country to discuss Search Institute’s new research on developmental relationships, I have not met a single person who thinks relationships are unimportant. The people I talk with are invariably interested and sometimes downright excited to learn that our studies are […]