Much of Search Institute’s past research on relationships has shown their value in the lives of youth, and how kids experience better outcomes when these relationships are strong.

Our research is now shifting to how we can help families, organizations and communities that work with kids build these relationships.

Search Institute recently interviewed 55 leaders of youth programs, schools, community coalitions and policy makers—a diverse sample of organizations that work with kids—and asked several questions. The two lead questions were:

  1. “On a scale of 1-5, how important is building relationships with kids to your organization?”
  2. “When you think about the day-to-day existence in your organizations, how important are these relationships compared to other priorities?”

Our interviews showed a big discrepancy between the importance organizations placed on the value of relationships and the time and resources they devote to building them.

Search Institute’s ongoing applied research is finding that there are two broad strategies that youth-serving organizations can use to close the gap between aspirations and actions when it comes to building relationships with and among young people:

  1. Create dedicated space for building relationships—time when building relationships is the primary endeavor.
  2. Find ways to make the core work of the organization highly relational

In the short video below, Search Institute President and CEO Dr. Kent Pekel explains the importance of and the differences between these two key strategies for getting relationships right. 


Click here to download the full research study, Getting Relationships Right

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