Aspen Forum For Community Solutions Releases Report on Youth and Young Adult Wellbeing

April 4, 2023

Framework aims to empower youth and young adults define, collect, and analyze data on their wellbeing as a basis for advocacy and developing policies and practices that help them thrive

Contact: Ben Berliner
Aspen Institute

Washington D.C., April 4 – Today, the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions released its Youth and Young Adult Wellbeing Measure Project Report. The report is a first-of-its-kind exploration of wellbeing among three cultural affinity groups at the core of the project: American Indian/Alaskan Native (AIAN), Latine Bienestar (Bienestar meaning “wellness”) and Black Expressions of Wellbeing (Black Expressions). Each cultural identity group includes a design team of youth and young adults (ages 18 – 25), as well as research allies from Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health, CUNY, Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at Colorado School of Public Health, adult community partners, and youth peer mentors. 

The driving purpose of the Youth and Young Adult Wellbeing Project is to empower youth and young adults in defining, collecting, and analyzing data on their wellbeing as a basis for advocacy, while developing policies and practices that help close the gap to wellbeing.

Since 2019,  over twenty-five youth and young adult peers (as well as adult allies from organizations across the United States and Canada) have come together for this collaborative project, organized by Fresh Tracks at Forum for Community Solutions.  

 The global pandemic caused by Covid-19 introduced new challenges like those highlighted in a 2021 youth advisory from US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who warned of a nationwide youth mental health crisis caused in part by the unprecedented challenges of isolation and illness.

The Youth and Young Adult Wellbeing Measure Project Report provides insight and data from the youth and young adult researchers and displays each cultural design team’s research process to identify key areas of wellbeing within their culture and traditions. It also identifies common themes of wellbeing across the three cultural contexts. This report highlights the origin and milestones of the first stage of this project, and more importantly, it promotes and encourages the field of youth-centered programming to center young leaders as experts in their lived experience. 

The Youth and Young Adult Wellbeing Measure Project Report is entering into the second stage of the project, with the goal of developing a toolkit for measuring, defining, and creating recommendations for wellbeing by youth and young adults for youth and young adults.With this tool, youth and young adults, partners, and providers will be able to create specific programs and policies that foster wellbeing in communities, backed by  youth-generated research data.



About Aspen Forum Community Solutions, Fresh Tracks 

Fresh Tracks is an initiative of the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions in partnership with Native Americans in Philanthropy, and the Opportunity Youth Forum. Fresh Tracks provides young Indigenous, rural, and urban leaders with cross-cultural community building skills, leadership development training, civic engagement opportunities, and resources for innovative youth and community-led action. Our movement is grounded in the healing power of the outdoors and culture. Fresh Tracks is a lifelong journey of leadership. Elevating youth narratives, power, and vision is at the core of our work. 

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