Ensuring young people feel that they belong has direct impacts on how they perform in school and beyond. A study by the Center for Promise showed that low-income youth in workforce development programs found relationship-building with mentors to be the most valuable skill in forging strong career pathways, proving there is an economic imperative to making sure young people can connect to caring adults.

I recently joined former Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas at the America’s Promise Alliance Summit for America’s Future for a discussion about the importance of young people feeling a sense of belonging.  While belonging is an idea we all understand generally, it has specific meaning to the scholars who study its importance—it is the belief that one is respected, valued and fits in culturally in one’s environment.

Every student has a unique story, and to succeed, young people need to know they are supported and that others want to see them thrive. That is the essence of belonging. Making sure our communities are inclusive is the only way we can create a just and equitable society where all young people have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential..."

by Tricia Raikes

Read complete article at America's Promise