Background: The federal approach to disaster management in the United States
encourages public participation to build resilient communities. Many children are affected by
disasters and they now are recognized as potential participants in disaster management
Objective: The objective of this paper is to present a theoretical rationale and approach for
involving youth in enhancing community resilience for disasters.
Methods: This paper is based on a review of the literature on a range of topics including
disaster management, personal and community resilience, adolescent development, and
youth programming. A framework for community resilience intervention and youth
involvement is presented.
Results: Public participation in building community resilience is essential to build trust,
ensure that activities address local needs and reflect community values, instill a sense of
ownership, and improve the likelihood that activities are successfully implemented. Youth
represent a major constituent in any community. This review affirms that they possess the
knowledge, skills, initiative, and ability to make meaningful contributions to their
communities. Youth also benefit developmentally from participation in community
enhancement processes. A recommended framework for formal intervention to enhance
community resilience relies on a team problem-solving approach that builds on assessment,
goals, and action planning.
Conclusion: As major constituents in their communities, youth should be engaged in
community enhancement processes. Not only do youth and their communities benefit from
the consequences of improved community resilience, youth benefit developmentally from
participation in intervention processes. Communities have both a reason and a responsibility
to involve them.