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.


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

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.