Real Opportunity

Imagine U

Building on the principles of social emotional learning, Imagine U helps youth develop the mindsets, skills, future orientation, knowledge, and agency they will need for successful futures in the 21st century.

Download the Imagine U toolkit

Packed with research, resources, literature reviews, student activities, and  more, the Imagine U toolkit was created by the Extended Learning Opportunities Network and Believe 2 Become…based on the academic research of Dr. Ronald F. Ferguson of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University. Download the toolkit now.


Equipping students for more

On March 28, 2016 youth development professional and practice
leaders gathered online to learn more about the Imagine U toolkit. Watch here as a panel
of experts in strategy, research, development, and practice share their unique
vantage points of working with Imagine U.


Important Insights

Imagine U is a comprehensive, strategic and scalable model for sustainable change comprised of four mutually reinforcing components:

  • research-based content that helps develop student agency, which is defined as the capacity and propensity to take purposeful action
  • a delivery system that includes a professional learning community grounded in principles of community-centered design, aimed at enriching the practice of youth development professionals
  • an integration strategy, including a professionally designed resource toolkit, to move PLC content and practice into broader action and impact
  • data mining that drives understanding of how youth are situated and their growth over time.

The direct practice curriculum of Imagine U included four learning quadrants as shown below, all designed to foster student agency.

Expert Resources

  • Strategic framework: Chaná Edmond-Verley, Believe 2 Become
  • Research: Ronald F. Ferguson, Ph.D., Harvard University
  • Integration and practice: Lynn Heemstra, Our Community’s Children, City of Grand Rapids; Urban Curry Consulting; Evolve!; ELO Network