Resource Development Associates, February 2006
Telephone interviews, survey results, and written and oral input inform this analysis of San Francisco’s citywide Youth Development program, the San Francisco Beacon Initiative. The data show that the field of Youth Development is emerging conceptually, even as administrators face a high turnover rate, patchy opportunities for professional development, and the funding challenges endemic to nonprofit work. According to workers, the substance of the daily work is highly satisfying and meaningful – more meaningful than most work they have done or ever hoped to do. But they don’t stay in the profession for long because the pay is insufficient or incommensurate with their education, because they don’t see a clear career ladder at the Beacon, and because, while gratifying, Youth Development work can be emotionally depleting for many. The study concludes with recommendations for the future of the Beacon Initiative and for the further establishment of Youth Development as a recognized professional field.