In 2014, the Thrive Foundation, searched across the nation for organizations providing services to disadvantaged youth nationwide with a caring adult at the center of their program delivery model and found eight exemplary organizations.
Led by Thrive’s Director of Research and Evaluation, Peter Samuelson, Ph.D., the foundation then embarked on an evaluation to see what they were doing with youth that made them so effective – especially in regard to the caring adults in the youth lives. Using a method called “principle-focused evaluation,” Samuelson discerned nine principles that guided their work. He then confirmed these principles in the scientific literature about positive youth development. Samuelson also interviewed exemplar youth to determine whether or not the youth talked about their experience in terms of these principles. We wanted to see if these organizations really “walked the talk”.