Center for Youth and Communities

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    Della M. Hughes

    Della M. Hughes is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Youth and Communities of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management of Brandeis University. Prior to this position, she held an appointment as Executive Director of the National Network for Youth in Washington, D.C., and Oasis Center, a community-based youth-serving organization in Nashville, Tennessee. A regarded community researcher, public speaker and writer, she co-founded and published CYD Journal and CYD Anthology 2002.  She has served on numerous national and local boards and advisory committees, and has been an invited participant in three global youth forums.  Hughes has focused on development of community-based alternatives for youth in high-risk situations since 1975, including alternatives to incarceration, foster care, and other forms of institutionalization. Currently, Hughes focuses on helping organizations, communities and institutions manage change to create and sustain quality community-based initiatives, systems and policies for youth and families by using evaluation as a learning and management tool. In doing so, she focuses on leadership, management and governance, and research and evaluation methods that prove impact, improve programs, influence policy, and increase resources.

    She teaches and serves as Co-Principal Investigator and manager of national and local evaluations such as the Skillman Foundation Good Neighborhoods and Good Schools Initiative, Youth Sports & Recreation and Culture & Arts Youth Development Initiatives; the Teen Futures Initiative of the Hyams Foundation; the Building Positive Supports for Youth Development Project of the Medical Foundation and South End/Lower Roxbury Youth Workers’ Alliance; and MY TURN Business Expansion and Evaluation Readiness Studies. She also played these roles with the America's Promise Communities of Promise Demonstration, the YMCA of the USA Connecting Our Communities Initiative, and the Hitachi Foundation’s Investment in Global Corporate Citizenship. Hughes holds advanced degrees from Vanderbilt University Divinity School and the University of Tennessee School of Social Work.

     

    Awards and Honors

    • Champions Award, U.S. Network of Technology of Participation Trainers, 2003
    • Honorary Community Research and Policy Fellow, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, 2000
    • Gallup Leadership Institute, "Leadership for Tomorrow" scholarship; People's Choice Award as Vision Leader, 1996
    • Basic Group Facilitation Methods, Strategic Planning, Institute of Cultural Affairs, 1993-1994
    • Ohio Youth Services Network, Outstanding Service, 1993
    • Award of Achievement for Management Excellence, Hospital Corporation of America Foundation, $20,000 to Oasis Center, 1988
    • Middle Tennessee Social Worker of the Year, 1987
    • Council of Community Services, Executive Director Hall of Fame, 1987
    • National Network of Runaway and Youth Services, Outstanding Service, 1985
    • Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), 1974-1999
    • Certified Master Social Worker (TN), 1981-1990
    • Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (TN), 1981-1985

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