Students in a school setting

Relationship-Rich Spaces for All Youth

Relationships with caring adults are especially important for young people, and yet data routinely show that they don’t experience them as often or as intensively as they should.

The relational culture of an organization plays an essential role in ensuring that all young people, regardless of background or circumstances, have the nurturing, support, and guidance they need to learn, grow, and thrive.

Search Institute partnered with the Carlson Family Foundation to conduct the State of Relation­ships study to further the understanding of what’s working and what’s not in creating relationship-rich spaces for all youth.

The Creating Relationship-Rich Spaces for All Youth series provide school and out-of-school time (OST) program staff and leaders with opportunities to reflect on the key findings of the study and how they might work to create a more relationship-rich space for the youth that they serve.

The series focus on critical aspects of becoming a relationship-rich organization:

  • Supporting Structures
  • Intentional Relational Climate
  • Inclusive Relational Climate
  • Equitable Relational Climate


Relationship-Rich Spaces for All Youth

Resource Audience

School / Youth Organization Leaders

Creating Relationship-Rich Spaces for All Youth

This study explored what schools and OST programs are doing to build strong youth-adult relationships. Learn more about the study here.

The relational culture of an organization, how rooted it is in relationships, grows out of the supporting structures that prioritize and make space for relationship-building. Supporting structures may emphasize the importance of relationships, and recognizing staff who are great relationship builders. Download the Supporting Structures brief.

Developmentally influential relationships do not happen by accident. Rather, we need to build those relationships with young people on purpose and with explicit attention. This often involves thinking ahead, being deeply conscious of being in a relational moment, and regularly reflecting about ways to improve the connection. Download the Intentional Relational Climate brief.

The desire to belong and feel included are fundamental human needs. An inclusive relational climate prioritizes meeting this need, and making all youth feel seen and welcome in the space. Download the Inclusive Relational Climate brief.

Relationship-rich organizations center and continuously nurture equity in their relationship-building work. Leveraging relationships to meet youth where they are, and responding to their particular needs, is critical for bolstering individual young people’s developmental trajectories and advancing positive social change. Download the Equitable Relational Climate brief.