Episode 4: Karen Pittman

Karen Pittman

I got to sit down with Karen Pittman, President and CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment and a national leader and advocate for positive youth development. Ms. Pittman has received many awards and has advised the top levels of government, foundations and nonprofits on how to create programs and policies that promote the values of youth development and address the holistic needs of young people and communities. We had a great conversation about the importance of “low-stakes accountability” strategies for encouraging rigorous practice while still letting creativity and risk-taking thrive, as well as the range of challenges facing the field today. 

Karen Pittman was refreshingly reflective about how the youth development field could frame the issues in a way that connects with people, and insightful about the language that she now prefers. She also talks about how the OST field can educate and support the regular classroom, and vice versa. Ms. Pittman will be the keynote speaker at the Bridge Conference in Seattle, WA next week, where I will also be presenting a session that screens the documentary, Race to Nowhere. Hope to see you there!

This episode is dedicated in loving memory to Mr. James C. Welbourne, who passed away on August 22, 2011.  I got to know Mr. Welbourne, the City Librarian for New Haven, CT when he engaged Development Without Limits to help in his efforts to support afterschool programs by having the library serve as a community hub. He was a visionary in his field, a mentor to me, and a gem of a man.

This episode of Please Speak Freely is sponsored by the School’s Out Washington Bridge to Afterschool and Back Conference, happening on October 17-18 in Seattle Washington. Come to the Bridge Conference to connect, act and transform!

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Please Speak Freely

On Please Speak Freely, Eric Gurna, founder of Development Without Limits interviews leading thinkers, artists and others to shed light on key issues and explore different perspectives about youth development and education. The idea is to get past the platitudes and institutional positions, and have honest, nuanced conversations about things that really matter to young people and communities. Please Speak Freely guests include:

  • Raffi, Children’s Troubadour and Founder of the Centre for Child Honouring
  • Alfie Kohn, Author of several books including Punished By Rewards and The Schools Our Children Deserve
  • Dr. Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education at New York University
  • Karen Pittman, President & CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment
  • Tony Smith, Former Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District
  • Lenore Skenazy, “America’s Worst Mom” and Author of Free-Range Kids

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