YDN Story

Our Story (History)
In the year 2000 Sierra Health Foundation and the Sacramento County Integrated Services Team conducted a study that identified a need to support youth providers with training and networking activities focused on promoting youth development research and practices. These research findings prompted a group of dedicated youth workers in Sacramento to gather around a table and ask questions like “How can we find out who else is doing what we do?” “How can we do a better job of working together?” This conversation led to the formation of the Youth Services Provider Network, or YSP.

In the early years YSP brought together youth-serving staff from all over the region to meet and get to know each other as well as to benefit from mini-trainings and presentations on youth development. In 2007 YSP became Youth Development Network (YDN) when it graduated from being a branch of a partner agency into its own independent nonprofit organization.

In the years since the small beginnings of the organization YDN has reached thousands of youth workers from every sector with the intent of increasing powerful life-changing experiences for young people wherever they may be.

The Youth Development Institute
In 2004 to meet the training needs for youth development professionals YSP, now YDN, brought the youth development institute (YDI) to Sacramento (from its partner, Community Network for Youth Development, in San Francisco). These YDI trainings brought together teams of staff from multiple organizations to learn alongside of, and from, each other as they developed programs and practices that more intentionally support the positive development of young people.

Resiliency and Strength
The economic downturn presented a myriad of immense challenges for the Youth Development Network. In the face of these obstacles a small but mighty team emerged through the tough times. In 2012 YDN began to build its capacity to address projects on a larger scale, as well as dive deeper into its capacity to coach, train and provide technical assistance to teams focused on Youth Development in the Sacramento area. In addition YDN partnered with WestEd on a 21 school, California-wide effort to measure school climate through the “fishbowl” process, also known as “listing circles.” Today YDN continues to host YDI’s, and is also the regions expert in strengths-based Youth Development. As a Gallup Certified Coach, YDN Executive Director Adrian Ruiz continues to shift the paradigm in how youth and adults partner with each other to create life-changing opportunities for youth to thrive and succeed.