Youth Development’s mission is to provide life-changing skills and opportunities to Louisiana youth with an overarching vision to enhance their lives by providing positive development in a safe and nurturing environment. While our services are extended to all youth, there is a particular focus on socially disadvantaged communities and vulnerable groups, as there is generally limited access to viable resources.

In keeping with the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center’s mission to connect citizens across the state with the essential tools necessary to encourage individual and collective success, our programs currently serve over 210,000 youth, annually. Innovative, pedagogical strategies are provided to diverse audiences in healthy living, college and career readiness, juvenile justice delinquency intervention and prevention, development of school gardens using cost-efficient methods in food deserts, 4- H, and incisive, empirical positive youth development. Over 50 young adults across Louisiana have been trained and currently serve as Ambassadors for Healthy Living, assisting with leading program initiatives, and encouraging younger youth to make healthier, holistic behavioral changes. Inclusive of interdepartmental and collaborative efforts, we can eliminate barriers so youth across Louisiana will realize Healthy Options that Promote Excellence (HOPE)!