Creative Youth Development Toolkit: Trends in CYD Programs


August 28th, 2019


1:00 PM ET



Creative youth development (CYD)practitioners are committed to reflection and ongoing refinement, to programs being actively shaped by young people, and being connected to and a reflection of their communities. Therefore, CYD program practices are continuously in development.

Join us for an overview of the soon-to-be published 'Trends in CYD Programs' landscape analysis from Americans for the Arts and the Creative Youth Development National Partnership. During the webinar, researcher Denise Montgomery of CultureThrive will discuss five current trends in CYD program development. These five trends include: Holistic Approaches Growing as Needs Grow, Collaboration Across Sectors, New Generation of Program Staff with New Approaches, Scaling by Depth, and Establishing Creative Career Pathways. Denise also will be joined by two field experts, who will share their perspectives as practitioners and who will bring depth and dimension to this national conversation. 


Denise Montgomery, Founder and Principal CultureThrive, San Diego, CA

Denise Montgomery is the founder and principal of CultureThrive and author of the paper, “Trends in CYD Programs.” The paper was produced as part of a larger project, led by Americans for the Arts in collaboration with the CYD National Partnership, to create a new, first-of-its-kind Creative Youth Development Toolkit that will aggregate the most effective tools and resources from exemplary creative youth development programs throughout the country. She is author of the CYD National Action Blueprint and of Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts. Denise works nationally, regionally, and locally to increase youth participation in high-quality out-of-school time programs. Her research has been covered by National Public Radio, The Washington Post, and Youth Today, among other media outlets. 

About Culture Thrive: From program development to research to marketing and communications, CultureThrive helps organizations to flourish. CultureThrive works to understand your goals and to optimize your programs, partnerships, and allocation of resources.Through strategic recommendations, implementation of well-designed programming, and research insights, they support organizations in thriving.

Cristy Johnston Limón, Executive Director, Youth Speaks, San Francisco, CA

A native of San Francisco, Cristy grew up in the city’s Mission district. Her bilingual public school education, infused with dance, music, and theater, ignited her passion to create spaces where all young people have access to the arts. This vision paved the way for her career in public service. Cristy’s calling, she’s shared, is to help build an equitable and just society for all. She is a first-generation college graduate and a proud “Double Bear.” She earned her undergraduate degree in political science at UC Berkeley and an Executive MBA from the Haas School of Business. She is the executive director of Youth Speaks in San Francisco. Prior to this position, Cristy served as the executive director of Destiny Arts Center in Oakland.

About Youth Speaks:
Through the intersection of arts education and youth development practices, civic engagement strategies, and high quality artistic presentation, Youth Speaks creates safe spaces that challenge young people to find, develop, publicly present, and apply their voices as creators of societal change. Key programs include the Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam, the Brave New Voices festival and network, and an Emerging Arts Fellowship. Learn more at

Shelby Williams-González, Executive Director, artworxLA, Los Angeles, CA

With 18 years of experience in the arts education field and 22 years as a professional dancer, Shelby Williams-Gonzalez has a career made up of overlapping networks. Artist, educator, and leader pushing for social change.  Shelby has taught dance and performing arts for LAUSD, as well as, developed programs for non-profit organizations such as The California Dance Institute, A Place Called Home and the L.A. Opera’s Education Program. She joined artworxLA in 2008 as a Workshop Coordinator and was promoted in 2012 to Artistic Director to oversee programming and partnerships. In 2017, Shelby shifted her career focal point from programming to fundraising and institutional sustainability as the organization's new Development and Communications Director and in 2018 she was appointed as the new Executive Director of artworxLA by the Board of Directors. 

About artworxLA:
artworxLA envisions a world where all alternative high school students graduate from high school, thrive into adulthood, and propel all society with their unique creativity. artworxLA combats the epidemic high school dropout crisis by engaging students in a long-term, sequential arts program offering a pursuable life path that inspires them to stay in school, evolve as unique individuals and flourish as creative adults. Their work includes:
 Creatively educating alternative high school teenagers with sustained arts exposure and immersion, connecting students to a network of peers, artists, cultural partners, higher education, creative industries, and supportive adults, and investing human and financial resources around ongoing, persistent student and alumni support. Learn more at