Support Network So Cap Hero

“It Was a Support Network System that Made Me Believe in Myself”

This report illustrates how youth and young-adult serving organizations can support young people’s social capital as they pursue postsecondary goals.

Relationships promote social capital by connecting young people to valuable resources and opportunities that are needed to achieve education and career success. Due to a range of structural barriers including racism and discrimination, social capital that advances success in postsecondary education and careers is often not equitably distributed among young people of color and young people from low-income backgrounds. This inequity had led to the development of several promising programs designed to increase education- and occupational-relevant social capital.

In 2020, Search Institute partnered with six youth and young-adult serving organizations to better understand how social capital and strong peer-to-peer networks help youth and young adults secure education and employment opportunities.

The following report introduces the six partner organizations and how their program models promote young people’s social capital. Findings from focus groups with program staff, youth and young adult participants, and program alumni highlight several important themes including:

  1. Barriers to education and career success
  2. Empowering young people to build social capital
  3. Providing new connections and networks
  4. Developmental relationships as a foundation for social capital
  5. Exploring program impacts

Read the full report to hear, in the words of youth and young adults, how their programs, program staff and mentors, and peers strengthened their social capital and helped them achieve their education and career goals.


“It Was a Support Network System that Made Me Believe in Myself”