Twenty years ago, Milbrey McLaughlin envisioned a center at the Stanford Graduate School of Education that would establish and maintain a community-university partnership to build new knowledge, practices, and capacity for youth development and learning. In 2000, she launched the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities, named for
the leader, activist, and author
whose ability to bring people together to work toward a common goal had improved the lives of millions of Americans. Gardner, then a consulting professor at the School of Education, believed that the public had finally awakened to the importance of youth development.
In his own words:
"if you want to train leaders, you have to start early."
Twenty years later, we remain true to Milbrey and John's ideals, partnering with communities, researchers, and practitioners to produce research to improve and strengthen the well-being of youth, inform policy and practice, and emphasize equity and capacity-building in youth-serving organizations.
Over the course of this year, we plan to bring you stories of the Gardner Center's defining contributions to the field of youth development. We invite you to begin with Jonathan Rabinovitz's 2014 article on Milbrey's leadership and the founding of the Gardner Center.